Photograph by Robert  Sheie from Minneapolis, USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

R.Sheie

Photograph by Robert Sheie from Minneapolis, USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Student Helps Keep Communities Warm

November 29, 2022

Coats of Friendship, an organization run by the Rankin family, is on a mission to keep those in need warm during this harsh winter season.

Volunteers gather donated coats. Photograph Courtesy of Tristan Rankin

Freshman Tristan Rankin, who had the idea to start Coats of Friendship, started with the help of his elementary school principal and his family.

“I saw a video of a homeless boy on the streets of New York,” Rankin said. “He sat there for hours and nobody gave him anything till another homeless man came by and gave him the jacket off his back. I saw that as a 6-year-old kid and saw that there was a need in my area.”

Tristan, with the help of his brother Emerson, brought the idea to his principal at the time, and she helped him bring the idea to life and to bring coats to those in need.

Now Coats of Friendship reaches far and wide, covering areas such as Red Lion, Dover, Gettysburg and York. York is their biggest distribution area of the year, where they hand out around 2,500 coats.

Volunteers from Coats of Friendship distribute coats. Photograph Courtesy of Tristan Rankin

“We’ll receive them from donors,” Tristan said. “We’ll have new coats and used coats of a variety of sizes and gender identities, and then we’ll take those coats and… have different distribution days, in different parts of Pennsylvania.”

Just recently, Coats of Friendship had a drive with the high school’s football team.

“We had great support from the community,” Tristan said, as the drive brought in 2,500 coats to give back to the community.

He collaborated with head football coach Joe Sorice to be able to get the community involved.

The organization also had their 9th annual distribution event in York, where they handed out 2,300 coats to those in need.

Coats of Friendship prepares for a distribution event. Photograph Courtesy of Tristan Rankin

Tristan’s mother, Tracee Rankin shared with Susquehannock staff via email, “They picked that weekend because of World Kindness Day.”

Coats of Friendship has had nine distribution events this year.

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