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URMC / Strong Memorial Hospital / Friends of Strong / The Best of Friends Blog / November 2020 / Teaming Up to Provide Warmth and Comfort for Patients in Need

Teaming Up to Provide Warmth and Comfort for Patients in Need

Pedestrians cross a street in the middle of blizzard conditions.

Sharing the Warmth: A Coat Drive for Patients in Need

In anticipation of the cold Rochester winter that lies ahead, Friends of Strong is again teaming up with the Emergency Department to host a men's winter coat drive to provide a warm coat to patients in need who are awaiting discharge from the hospital. This year, Advantage Federal Credit Union is also joining in to help make the annual initiative a success by “hosting” donation bins at their URMC and Penfield branch locations.

The Winter Ahead – A Community in Need

As a team, the Emergency Department (ED) staff do everything they can to ensure that every patient is discharged with weather-appropriate clothing, but it’s a goal that can be extremely difficult to accomplish during Rochester’s often-brutal winters.

The ED serves a diverse population, explains Dan Nowak, MS, RN, Director of Patient Family Relations for the ED. “Many of our patients come to us after an accident or an injury with their winter clothing badly ruined, while some arrive with very little clothing, or clothing that isn’t weather-appropriate because they either can’t afford winter clothing or are homeless.”

Dan, who oversees the annual collection drive, also notes that men’s coats are the most urgent need, as many women’s coats remain from last year’s drive.

Illuminating Our Collective Generosity

Each winter the ED begins the season with many coats donated by the ED staff themselves. Unfortunately, the needs often and quickly outpace this initial supply.

That’s one reason why Friends of Strong—and now Advantage Federal Credit Union—are working with the ED to hold the Winter Coat Drive, inviting the whole hospital and URMC community to be a part of this impactful initiative.

“It’s always uplifting to see the generosity of the community as we step up to bring comfort and warmth to those in need,” Dan says. “Last year, more than 500 coats—many of them brand new—were donated in just a two-month period.”

All patients that needed a warm winter coat last year were able to receive one for free due to the remarkable generosity of many URMC employees, students, volunteers and visitors.

“It’s great to be a part of something that makes a real difference for those in our community,” adds Sandy Arbasak, director of Friends of Strong. “We’re so happy that this has become an annual tradition, and overjoyed that Advantage has joined us to help ensure this year’s drive is as successful as ever.”

How to Help

Bring a new—or clean gently used—men’s adult-size winter coat for donation to our patients in need from now through March.

Where to Donate

Look for our collection boxes in these convenient locations:

URMC Staff:

Strong Memorial Hospital Main Lobby
All Hours

Inside Advantage FCU @URMC
Ground Floor, Suite G-6010
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday

Offsite Staff and General Public:

Outside Advantage FCU in Penfield
2515 Browncroft Blvd.
All Hours
(Large white donation bin near the entrance.)


Please Note: No women’s coats, children's coats or any other clothing items are needed at this time.

For questions, please contact Friends of Strong at 585-276-3028.

Thank you for helping us prepare for this winter’s anticipated cold weather.



Matt Ulakovic | 11/16/2020

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