Warmth for our neighbors: SCSJ Coat Drive aims to help refugees weather winter


As a hub for refugees the world over, Omaha has proven itself a gracious and welcoming host to many people.

The city’s winter weather, however, can be less hospitable, especially for those arriving from warmer climes. Creighton University’s Schlegel Center for Service and Justice is aiming to do something about that with its Fall Coat Drive for Refugee Families, which continues through Dec. 3.

SCSJCoatDrive_300“Refugees are our neighbors and many of them are arriving without much at all, including clothing that’s needed in wintertime,” said Ellie Dunn, a junior from Milwaukee who is among those spearheading the coat drive. “It’s a small part of what we can do to extend a welcome to them.”

Dunn said the drive hopes to collect 500 coats and, since the drive began Oct. 1, has taken in about 175. Some 100 coats went to the Benson Area Refugee Task Force, and the rest are being shuttled to the Yates Community Center, where Creighton students perform weekly service projects with and for the many refugees who congregate at Yates.

This is the second such drive the SCSJ has undertaken in the past three years. In 2016, the drive netted 500 coats for refugees.

“It’s a project we’ve so wanted to put a lot of time into,” Dunn said. “We’ve had an outpouring of support for it, too. Creighton clubs, Greek life, faculty — we’ve had help from across campus.”

Dunn hopes that the Dec. 3 deadline will give students returning home for the Thanksgiving break an opportunity to do a quick look through their old wardrobes and find coats to donate.

Drop-off sites are scattered around campus, with one in the SCSJ’s office at the Harper Center, at Creighton Hall, at the Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library and the law library.

“The coats keep coming in,” Dunn said. “We’re so happy to see this response for our neighbors.”


Creighton University is a Jesuit, Catholic university bridging healthlawbusiness and the arts and sciences for a more just world.

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The SCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice (SCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the SCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.