Hundreds in need gather in SF's Mission District for free coats ahead of Christmas

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Saturday, December 23, 2023
Hundreds in need gather in SF's Mission for free coats
Hundreds of people and dozens of families came out to San Francisco's Mission District Friday night to receive free winter jackets.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The line was out the door Friday night in San Francisco's Mission District. Hundreds of people and dozens of families came out to receive free winter jackets.

That included Elizabeth Portales, who spoke to us with the help of a translator.

"It's really good. It's beautiful," she said.

The giveaway was run by the Latino Task Force, in partnership with other local groups.

For Portales, the event is a way to help provide for her family during increasingly difficult times.

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"When it's a big family it's hard to do it. That's why she is so grateful to have this program," Portales said.

Friday was the third time the event has happened in recent years.

That's due in large part to Latino Task Force volunteer, Olivia Franco.

Franco says in that short amount of time, she's seen the need in the community explode.

"After COVID, a lot of people lost their jobs and they haven't situated themselves so we try to help them and make them happy and warm," Franco said.

For many of these families, this event is about more than just receiving jackets. Several of them are currently homeless, living either on the streets or in shelters, and these items will help them survive the winter.

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Alameda County first responders raced to the rescue. But this time, it's for the best reason: to grant one little girl's holiday wish.

That thought is exactly why people like Anthony Crociani have stepped up to donate coats and jackets.

He tells us he knows that everyone here truly appreciates the gesture.

"Some of these mothers, they come in, they give you a hug. They have tears under their eyes. It's the little things," Crociani said.

As for Franco, she says she doesn't foresee the need dying down any time soon.

That's why she's planning to do even more, far beyond just the holiday season.

"We're going to do bigger and bigger ever year - yes."

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