Muslim group collects hundreds of coats for those in need

Oct 12, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. ET

The average winter temperature in Halifax last year was -19 degrees C. So when Asraa El-Darahali’s friend told her a disturbing story about someone who went around in a sweater all winter because she couldn’t afford a coat, she knew she had to get involved.

So she came up with a way to help: She created Coats for Humanity and invited the entire Muslim community to stop by Mic Mac Mall on Thanksgiving and donate jackets to those in need.

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“I figured this was a good opportunity to invite the whole Muslim community to help others in need,” she told The Chronicle Herald.

By day's end, 688 coats had been donated. El-Darahali said Sunday’s event is just the beginning. She’s hoping to turn Coats for Humanity into an annual event and collect at least 1,000 coats before the temperature drops in November.

“The community is something we all need to take care of,” El-Darahali told The Chronicle Herald. “Donating coats is a small action, but I hope it will go a long way for someone in need who wants to stay warm this winter.

“The number of people who came to donate jackets today totally exceeded my expectations. People from all walks of life came out to help the needy. What better way to spend Thanksgiving than to share what you have with others. But our goal is 1,000 jackets, so we still have a long way to go.”

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"I stopped at one of our properties this morning, and a woman came over to me, and she said, 'I need a coat. I really need a warm coat with a hood.' And I'm thinking later today I'm stopping by Coats for Humanity," Sheri Lecker, executive director of Adsum for Women & Children, told the CBC.

"Warm clothing is a meaningful way to help someone in your own community."

The coats will be donated to various groups throughout Halifax. For more information about where the coats are being distributed and where to drop off items, visit Coats for Humanity on Facebook.

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