The Salvation Army Family Store needs winter clothing to help keep low-income and homeless individuals all over the Chattanooga area warm this season.
"A lot of folks have not donated winter clothing and a lot of folks need it because it's cold out," said Salvation Army Director of Marketing and Development Kimberly George. "It's [clothing] going really fast."
If someone is in need, they can stop by the Salvation Army office at 822 McCallie Ave. in Chattanooga to request a clothing voucher to shop for free in the nonprofit's store in East Ridge. People who can afford to shop can also purchase clothing in the store; the money they spend goes to help clothe their neighbors in need.
Clothes are accepted at the store year-round.
"How many coats do we have in our closets that we don't need?" asked J103 morning talk show radio host Ted Gocke while streaming live on site during a recent year-end clothing drive. "Obviously we are standing out here and it's cold. I can't imagine being cold outdoors all the time walking down the street or under a bridge. It would be cool if people would clean out their closets and bring winter clothes by the Salvation Army Family Store."
"We had a lot of stuff that someone could use more than us," said Nathaniel Soules, a Ringgold resident who along with his wife, Stephanie McDaniel, donated three bags of clothes. "We are struggling ourselves, but we can give clothes."
Inside the store, people can also purchase furniture, appliances, electronics, linens, lamps, dishes and anything else needed for a home or family. The store is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for donations or shoppers.
"My first apartment was furnished by the Salvation Army and over the years I donated it back piece by piece," said George.
She said the need for assistance is still great despite the holidays coming to a close. For 2011, Christmas assistance was up 48 percent from two years ago, amounting to 10,000 people helped through food, clothing, gifts and utilities this holiday season.
She said people will need food, clothing and utility bill assistance in January, because "need knows no season."
Red kettle donations are still being accepted online because $7,000 more is needed to meet the year-end goal.
"We need to raise more money to take care of January needs," said George.