CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — With the winter months ahead, the state’s most vulnerable members are getting some much-needed help ahead of the snow.

After taking a year off due to the pandemic, the “Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange” passed out winter items at Gloria Dei Church in Providence with the help of dozens of volunteers.

Last year, when the pandemic forced the cancellation of the event, members of the Rhode Island senate joined forces with housing advocates to organize their own winter coat and gear collection at the State House, distributing more than 2,600 winter coats, hats, and other items.

Relieved that the event was back on, Senators Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13) and Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) decided to help out again. “There is no better way to celebrate the holiday season, particularly Thanksgiving, than to share some warmth and help our neighbors meet a very basic human need. Last year we were blown away by not only the outpouring of items that were able to be given to people who really needed them, but by how much people really wanted to help,” said Senator Cano

“We are so happy to be a part of this important effort to connect people in need with people who want to give. While the need is high this year, we’ve found that the generosity of Rhode Islanders is also abundant,” she continued.

Also among some of the volunteers were students at La Salle Academy. “I came because I wanted to help out the community, I just want to be a positive influence for a lot of people,” said Greg Bousquet.

Organizers said more than 1,500 coats were distributed during the last exchange, which is a number they are hoping to break.