Coat Boston

This year is Coat Boston’s 10th Anniversary! Learn more about our Cheers to 10 Years celebration.

At City Mission, we believe that all children in Boston deserve to be warm and safe each winter. Coat Boston, with the help from a generous grant from Citizens Bank, ensures that children from toddlers to teens have the warm winter coats they need. City Mission partners with Boston Public Schools serving low-income families to ensure that all young Bostonians have a warm, safe winter.

How You Can Help

Resolve to host a Coat Party! Put it in your calendar now that you will host a coat party in November or December. Make sure to put reminders to yourself a few months out, so that you’ll remember to start planning later.

  • Talk to your church about getting involved in 2018, or if they’re already involved, how they can increase their participation. The earlier these conversations start, the better!

  • If you have any Amazon or other gift cards to places like TJ Maxx or Marshall’s, send them to the City Mission office! Attach a note saying you would like this money to go to Coat Boston, and we will purchase coats in the fall with your donation. These funds can help us purchase high-need sizes of coats if demand exceeds our supply.


In Boston, one in every four days from December through February is below freezing. Imagine walking or taking the bus to school in such weather without a proper winter coat. It can be dangerous, and it’s difficult for children to be fully engaged and open to learning when arriving at school tired, cold, and wet.

Since 2009, more than 12,000 elementary school children in Boston have received new coats through City Mission’s partnership with Citizens Bank. The provision of brand new warm winter coats means children arrive in school, warm, dry, and ready to learn. And, for families struggling with the high cost of living in Boston’s urban neighborhoods, a brand new coat for their children frees up tightly stretched family income for other basics like rent, heat, and food.

Sadly, missed school days can have deep and lasting consequences for young children that can follow them into adulthood. The US Department of Education (DOE) reports that chronic absenteeism too often prevents young children from reaching early learning milestones. According to the DOE, “Children who are chronically absent in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the third grade. Students who cannot read at grade level by the end of third grade are four times more likely than proficient readers to drop out of high school.” And dropping out of high school is a predictor of negative outcomes in adulthood and has been linked to everything from poverty and diminished health to involvement in the criminal justice system. In this way, Coat Boston supports families today and in the future, helping to keep children from becoming homeless in the future.

Why New Coats?

A new warm coat says, “Boston cares about you.” A new warm coat says “you are worthy of something that is yours.” A new warm coat says “you are important to your community.”

New coats also last longer – when one child grows out of it, it can go to a family member or neighbor.

How Do I Host a Coat Party?

We have created a guide that will walk you through the steps of planning and hosting a successful coat party. It has a checklist, planning materials, posters, and other publicity materials and ideas!

Invite guests to bring a new coat, gift cards, or make a cash donation to City Mission. Party with a purpose! Be creative and add a theme to your party. Consider a holiday-themed Coat Boston party, ask people to donate coats in place of gifts for your birthday party, or host a trivia night with people bringing coats.


First launched in 2009, Coat Boston began as the vision of Executive Director, Rev. June Cooper, that children — especially those in urban neighborhoods served by City Mission — should have proper warm clothing, particularly, winter coats. Knowing how much young children grow from year to year and how prohibitively expensive children’s clothing has become, Coat Boston began when Rev. Cooper shared her vision with an officer at Citizens Bank in 2009.


Click here to download answers to frequently asked questions about Coat Boston.

For more information please contact Ralph Watson at