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‘Wall of Warmth’ is back this year and bigger than ever

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Wall of Warmth Coat Drive | Courtesy Valorie Blanchard

IDAHO FALLS — The ‘Wall of Warmth’ is back for its third year and ready to bless even more community members in need.

From Nov. 16 to Dec. 1, hundreds of coats will be hung up on fences throughout east Idaho in an effort to provide warmth to as many people as possible this winter. The coat drive, which was started by local real estate agent Valorie Blanchard, began in 2018 where she helped provide about 600 coats to the community. Last year, over 2,000 coats were given away, and this year, the wall has been expanded and she’s hoping to handout 4,000 coats.

“When we first started it, I didn’t really know that there was a need,” Blanchard told EastIdahoNews.com. “(But) that’s why we keep doing it because there’s such a need for it that we never knew was out there.”

Blanchard has spent a lot of time at the wall, and that’s given her a feel for the different people who come out to grab items off the fence. She said she’s seen grandparents get coats for their grandkids, neighbors grab one for another neighbor and people picking one up for a coworker.

“A lot of times, it’s people really trying to take care of other people that they know are in need,” she explained. “There are families that come and get one for their kids because they do need one. They’ll bring their kids in a sweatshirt or a little small jacket, and that’s really all they have.”

Courtesy Valorie Blanchard

Community members who have coats are encouraged to donate them by hanging the item on the fence. For people in need, they are welcome to grab a coat off the fence, but Blanchard asks that only one be taken per person so that everyone that needs a coat can get one.

Along with coats, items that would keep a person warm such as hats, gloves, boots in good condition and ski pants can also be donated.

“We’re so excited that the community has gotten behind this. When I first started, it was really just my clients that I went out to (ask for help),” Blanchard said. “The next year, I put it out to the community. As soon as the wall went up, it’s like people remembered. They brought their coats. They got everything put up on the wall. It was just exciting.”

Wall of Warmth locations:

  • Rexburg: West Main Street outside of the Legacy Golf Course, just east of John Adams GMC. Please park at the Legacy Golf Course and walk over to the Wall
  • Idaho Falls: Lincoln Road, just west of Action Motor Sports
  • Blackfoot: North Meridian Street, directly across from C-A-L Ranch Store
  • Pocatello: 151 North 4th Avenue, in the Streamline Chiropractic parking lot

If you would like to help out by donating a coat, the drop off locations include:

  • Rexburg: Idaho’s Real Estate, John Adams GMC, The Rock Gym & Teton Crossfit, City of Rexburg, C-A-L Ranch Store, Good 2 Go Convenience Store (next to Burger King)
  • Rigby: Tadd Jenkins Chevrolet, Good 2 Go Convenience Store (both locations)
  • Ucon: Good 2 Go Convenience Store
  • Idaho Falls: Action Motor Sports, Austin Kade Academy, Lyle Amado Barbershop, C-A-L Ranch Store, Good 2 Go Convenience Store (3 locations)
  • Shelley: Good 2 Go Convenience Store
  • Blackfoot: Bingham Healthcare, Tadd Jenkins Chevrolet, Nate Baldwin State Farm, C-A-L Ranch Store
  • Pocatello: Streamline Chiropractic, Teton Honda, Physical Therapy Specialists of Idaho (Pocatello & Chubbuck), The Free Clinic, Good 2 Go Convenience Store and C-A-L Ranch Store
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