During the last three days, Scotch Fabric Care Services and the Salvation Army gave away about three-fourths of the 2,541 coats collected in Lawrence in recent weeks.
"The money they would have spent to buy a coat could now be used for food or a Christmas gift or something else for their family," said Scott Shmalberg, Scotch president, of the people who received the coats.
Coats were dropped off at Scotch's seven Lawrence and nine Topeka stores as part of the 19th annual Share the Warmth program. More than 6,000 coats were collected in Topeka this year, Shmalberg said.
After Scotch cleaned the donated coats, members of the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary and other volunteers helped with sorting and distributing the coats.
This year's coat stash included more children's coats than the past few years.
Shmalberg said several Lawrence schools, including Southwest Junior High School and Langston Hughes, Deerfield and St. John's schools, had their own coat drives in partnership with the event, which may have netted more children's coats.
As a member of the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary, Ila Takacs said the coat giveaway on Friday and Saturday morning produced some sizable crowds.
"We had probably the largest number of coats given away in this day-and-a-half than I've ever seen," she said.
Those in search of coats ranged from younger to older and even families with several children, she said.
"It makes you feel awfully good that it's there to be given away to someone that really needs it," Takacs said.
She also said several Kansas University students and other younger volunteers helped distribute the coats. Seeing so many children's coats given away was Takacs' favorite part.
Of the more than 2,500 coats donated in Lawrence this year, a mink stole also found its way into the drive.
"Somebody did take that with them, yes," Shmalberg said.