Park Slopers welcomed residents of a recently-opened homeless shelter on Fourth Avenue with a community coat drive, in an effort to ensure their new neighbors have what they need for the winter.
Locals donated over 1,000 clothing items to the new family shelter on Fourth Avenue and 15th Street, many of which were handmade at the Kings County Fiber Festival at the Old Stone House, according to an organizer.
“Since we are the town square for Park Slope, it’s just another way of making people feel welcome in the neighborhood,” said Kim Maier, executive director of the Old Stone House, who helped facilitate the donation.
Locals donated knitted hats, gloves, coats, snow-pants and sweaters after word about the drive was spread through the Park Slope Parents network.
“We had a beautiful day and spread big tarps out on the back patio and sorted everything into sizes and repackaged everything and brought it over to the residence so people could have what they needed,” Maier said.
The shelter, operated by service provider Women In Need, was the subject of a number of heated public meetings after its announcement last year, with some locals complaining a shelter would harm their property values, and others questioning the huge price tag for the facility.
Maier said she feels her job as a steward of the neighborhood’s most prominent park is to create a welcoming environment for all who use it.
“Our job is really to create a welcome public space for everybody in the neighborhood,” she said. “I think one of the advantages of a park space is people come together regardless of their backgrounds.”