Local News

Ted Loebenberg won’t be rushing to the stores on the Friday searching for bargains.

Instead, he will join other volunteers at sites across the Louisville area to help with the annual annual Free Coat Exchange.

“Only in American do people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have,” he said.  “Instead of running to the mall like maniacs, let’s do this and let’s give back to the community.”

Loebenberg, a Rhode Island native, started the program in Louisville in 2010.  He said the inspiration for the event comes from Buy Nothing Day, the international day of protesting consumerism.

He said the Free Coat Exchange is the “keep it simple, stupid” method to giving back to the community.

“All of that are blessed and ‘have’ have more than we need,” he said.

Loebenberg said if people have coat that they don’t need, they can take it to one of the nine exchange locations and donate it.  If they need a coat, they can go to one of the nine exchange locations and pick-up a coat.

“No questions asked,” Loebenberg said.

For a list of exchange sites, go here.

But it’s not just coats, he said, anyone is encouraged to drop off anything that can help shield the cold weather—hats, scarves, gloves.  There will be no money accepted for the purchase of coats and no sponsorships are being sought, he added.

And volunteers are welcome, Loebenberg said. Interested people just have to show up at a location and get to work for “as little or as long as they want to.”

Last year, in Louisville, more than 2,500 coats were given away.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.