YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – You might see a bus traveling around the Valley or a collection bin marked Youngstown Blue Coats. It all goes back to an effort started with Patty Summers.
Summers began a coat drive in Youngstown and turned it into a life-saving mission.
“After three years, their director said to me, ‘You should do this down there on your own because you have a greater need than we can supply,'” Summers said.
Tents, tarps, sleeping bags, and mats to keep a sleeping bag off the ground are just some of the other items they’ll hand out to those who request one.
“We go out at least twice a week, and we help everybody we find,” Summers said. “Last year, we helped 1,600 people. It’s amazing the need here. You don’t really see it unless you are looking for it.”
Summers is always looking for deals to purchase special items such as a coat that turns into a sleeping bag.
“They thank you and ask us if we are angels. They ask us there did you come from?” Summers said.
Summers and her staff won’t turn anyone away, and she especially wants to help our Veterans.
“We provide for them. We also try to connect them with agencies or with someone who can help them off the street,” Summers said. “We do that with everyone we see but with our veterans and homelessness, those two things should not be together.”
You can find drop-off locations if you’d like to help.
- O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, Belmont Ave.
- The Mahoning Plaza, Mahoning Ave., across from Giant Eagle
Patty Summers of Youngstown Blue Coats, This week’s WYTV Hometown Hero.