Minneapolis woman keeping those in need warm by supplying winter clothing

One Minneapolis woman has made it her mission to make sure families stay warm this winter. She collected hundreds of coats and other winter items to be given to families who need them.

The operation went from dozens to hundreds, to 500 winter coats and gear. The volunteers said a lot of people want to help but they just don’t know how. They said a woman named Martha Hoeppner gave them that answer.

Family, friends and neighbors joined forces to give. On Thursday, they gathered in north Minneapolis’ Bohanon Park, unloading bags filled with warm gear.

Hoeppner is connecting the dots. She brought people together from across Minnesota by collecting coats, boots, gloves and hats, after meeting children who said they didn’t have them.

"And so I said, ‘Well, what are your sizes? I’ll be back, come back on Friday,’" Hoeppner told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

That was earlier this month. She asked friends to help, and they gave away more than 100 coats.

"Especially during this pandemic of COVID and seeing the disparity between the communities, I just felt like I needed to take action," Hoeppner explained.

And her circle answered the call, bringing her more winter outerwear to donate than she could’ve ever imagined.

Volunteer Jenny Austin said, "Martha said, ‘Get your neighbors, if we work together, we can do this again, and do it even bigger.’"

She added, "In all of this tragedy that’s going on this year, there’s so much sadness. I thought this is a really tangible thing."

The volunteers helped Hoeppner spread the word and connect with the community.

"People can come, no questions asked, just take what you need," Hoeppner said.

Hoeppner added that she has dozens more bags still in storage. On Friday, she and volunteers will be giving away more coats and winter gear outside Lucy Laney school from noon to 3 p.m. Hoeppner said she plans to continue handing them out at various locations until they’re all gone.