Buy Nothing Coat Exchange is back!
“We were trying, as we always do, to over prepare,” said said Becka Carroll, an organizer with Buy Nothing Coat Exchange. “Because we wanted to be sure that we had enough for everybody – that nobody comes and doesn’t get what they need.”
“It happens every year on the day after Thanksgiving. People call it Black Friday but for us we call it Buy Nothing Day, an international day of protest against consumerism and the craziness of Black Friday,” said Becka Carroll, on of the organizers of the event. “We do it to help with our community. There’s lots of folks who need help staying warm in the winter.”
Coats, hats, gloves and scarves are available, for free, in sizes ranging from children to adults. The event has been happening for decades, but last year, due to Covid, the event was reluctantly skipped, said Lauren Teston to UpriseRI, who has been heading Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange for five years with her mother Pam Teston. Last year, the danger of inviting vulnerable communities to such an event, even outdoors, was unknown. This year, the Rhode Island Department of Health was on hand and masks were mandatory.
This year also marked the first time the event moved indoors, due to the rain. The event moved from the south lawn of the Rhode Island State House, across from the Providence Place Mall, to the nearby Gloria Dei Lutheran Church on Hayes Street.
“Do you get the sense that the need is more than ever due to the rise in homelessness in the state? Asked UpriseRI.
“That’s what we were thinking,” said Becka Carroll. “So we were trying, as we always do, to over prepare because we wanted to be sure that we had enough for everybody – that nobody comes and doesn’t get what they need.”
My full, but short interview with Becka Carroll can be seen here:
In January of February organizers will be conducting a sock drive, collecting new clean socks for people in need. Details on that to come. Check out the Buy Nothing Coat Exchange website here.