Dennis Fabiszak, East Hampton Library Executive Director, was very excited to speak with Hamptons.com about this season’s holiday coat drive. “We started a few years ago. We had patrons make scarves and hats by hand, and the first year we gave them away to the senior center, we gave them away to some other groups in town, and we had them available for other people who could come in because they needed a scarf or a hat. That went pretty well, so last year we decided to up the game and we did a coat drive. We ended up getting more than 150 coats donated.”
When ask how the coats were distributed, he noted, “We advertised for local residents who needed a coat to come in and take one. When we got through to most of the local residents, we still had some left over, so we actually sent some coats out to Montauk and we sent some into Bridgehampton. They were distributed to those libraries.”
So, what about this year and the effect of COVID on the coat collecting and giving? Fabiszak replied, “We decided this year to do it again, and in the first ten days of collecting coats, we have gotten more than four dozen donated, and we are going to begin, at the end of this week, to advertise for folks to come in and pick from the coats that are available to take them if they need them. Because of COVID-19, it’s a little different. We have people meet us in the parking lot, we store the coats in a pod that we have in the parking lot for three days, just so that we can be sure that the coats are not infected with anything. We then are putting all the coats on racks so that we have them in our gallery and we are putting size tags on them so it will be easier for folks to go through them when they come in to look through them.”
Fabiszak is extremely proud of the response sharing, “People have been wonderful, we had people bringing in five or six coats each, and some of them are lightly used. Some people have actually gone to the store and purchased brand new coats and brought them in with the tags still on them. We are really fortunate to be in this area and have such generous residents. Collections are well ahead of last year.”
When asked about the process of dropping off coats or selecting one, he said, “We [the Library] are open Monday through Saturday. Monday through Thursday, it’s 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, it’s 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. We accept things anytime during that time period and people can come in and get things anytime during that time period.”
In other Library news, Fabiszak shared, “We are now entirely online with programs again. We are not doing in-house programs, but everything else is operating as usual. We also have 5,000 books and DVDs that we are giving away in the same area as the coats, in the gallery, that would make great Christmas gifts.”
East Hampton Library is located at 159 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, visit easthamptonlibrary.org.