Would you like the good news or the bad news first?
The good news is that after a recent arctic blast that plunged our temperatures well below freezing before the middle of November even arrived, we’ll be thawing out and warming up a bit.
The bad news is that, again, we’re barely in mid-November, which means that those bitterly cold temps are likely to return over the course of the next few months as winter envelops this region.
The other bad news is that not everyone has the right outerwear to prepare for such weather. And the health risks of not being warm enough can be severe and deadly — approximately 200,000 people die each year from the cold, according to the nationwide One Warm Coat initiative, and exposure to the cold predisposes people, especially children, to infections such as pneumonia.
Several local organizations are trying to make a difference by connecting residents in need with scarves, mittens, hats, gloves and other cold-weather clothing — but they’ll need your help to be successful.
Chase the Chill, an effort that last year distributed 1,000 articles of clothing to people in need, is collecting winter weather wear at the following locations: Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St.; Freeman Hospital, 1102 W. 32nd St.; Homewood Suites by Hilton, 2642 E. 32nd St.; Unity of Joplin church, 204 N. Jackson Ave.; and Missouri Southern State University, 3950 Newman Road.
Crosslines Ministries, 320 S. School Ave. in Joplin, recently posted to Facebook that it is in desperate need of coats — particularly kids’ coats — to be able to distribute to families in need.
Those are just two that we know about, but we’re sure there are other efforts out there. If you have new or gently used winter clothing that you don’t need but could donate, or you’re in a position to purchase a few items for donation, please do so.
The arrival of winter doesn’t have to be bad news. The good news is that we can help our community stay warm and safe.