CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Housing Authority and Operation Warm gave away more than 6,000 coats Saturday to people just before the city takes a turn toward winter weather.
"It just helps the community so much," said Angela Young, who received a coat at the drive.
That's the goal of Operation Warm, the non-profit that teamed up with CHA to support children and families in need before the cold sets in.
"That's good," said Constance Thompson, who also received a coat. "That's a good drive they do for the kids and everything during all the stuff that goes down... and COVID slowing all the people down."
Operation Warm is the largest coat drive in the U.S. It took place at the University of Illinois Chicago forum.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot made an appearance to stress the need for unity with such events.
"When we are challenged... we always rise to meet that challenge by coming together," Lightfoot said. "And that's what today is really all about."
Along with the 6,000 coats donated to kids, people were also given the chance to get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19. Some non-profit organizations also helped people in need with groceries and utility bills.
"In Chicago, it gets cold, so we need to make sure that everybody's got heat, electricity, gas on so you can be warm this winter," Lightfoot said.
Donating coats is a longtime Chicago tradition with 100,000 coats given to families over the last 14 years. It's something receiving parents don't take for granted.
"There's a lot of kids out there that's in need," Young said.
Chicago Housing Authority, Operation Warm give away more than 6K winter coats