Some 10 coats were wrapped around trees in Gainesville while others dangled from a hanger on poles in the hopes that someone in need might stumble upon them this week.
Ninth District Opportunity housing manager Michael Fisher said the organization received donations from Family Promise and originally handed out coats and other supplies at homeless encampments.
When Fisher and his team were finished, they still had about 10 jackets left over.
“I’m sure there’s people that could use them, and I remember hearing about this thing that was happening in Europe where this town did that,” Fisher said. “They just tied them around all the trees to help anybody in need.”
The coats were placed around downtown Gainesville with an envelope and a note inside.
“If you need a coat, please feel free to take this,” the note read. “Stay warm. We are all in this together.”
Fisher said they tried to place them in areas “where we knew there’d be traffic of low-income and poor people and homeless people.” He said he was moved when he saw a picture of a tattered sweatshirt left behind where one of the coats was placed.
Jerry Deyton, who runs a day center for the homeless population of Gainesville known as The Way, said they passed out roughly 20 backpacks Wednesday, Dec. 23, with tools and supplies to make it through the winter.
Inside the backpacks were socks, toboggan hats, gloves, emergency blankets, toiletries, first aid kits, sewing kits and solar packs capable of charging a cellphone.
Deyton said they put out the request on Facebook for different things, and several churches and individuals jumped in with either donated items or money for the supplies.
“The whole community in Gainesville came out and helped us with it,” Deyton said.