St. Charles woman disheartened after complaints about coat chari - KMOV.com

St. Charles woman disheartened after complaints about coat charity involved City Hall

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Tiffany Unger set up a coat rack charity, but some St. Charles residents complained it was an eyesore. (Credit: KMOV) Tiffany Unger set up a coat rack charity, but some St. Charles residents complained it was an eyesore. (Credit: KMOV)

ST. CHARLES (KMOV.com) -- A St. Charles woman says she's trying to help those in need by getting winter coats into the hands of those who need them most, but some people are complaining about how she's doing it.

Tiffany Unger started Project Warmth, a plan designed to get warm winter coats to those who can’t afford their own.

She set up a coat rack along First Capital Drive in downtown St. Charles, hoping to have it function as a public donation space.

“We love this location because it has a lot of traffic,” she said. “People can drop donations 24 hours a day and also people can come grab a coat any time that they need.”

The rack has been set up for about three weeks, and donations have been coming in steadily.

“The outpouring of donations was really overwhelming,” Unger said.

But when some residents look at the rack, they see an eyesore, and City Hall has been getting calls. Soon, they contacted Unger.

“They were very nice about it, wanted to work with us, but said they were receiving some complaints it was an eyesore,” she said.

Mayor Sally Faith said the city is willing to work with Unger and has no interest in cracking down on any potential code violations.

“We're not going to get into that, we're just trying to find a place where the need can be taken care of,” Mayor Faith said, going as far as to offer to provide signage. “We're looking at large red letters: ‘Free coats,’ to get the word out.”

City officials say perhaps the stand can be moved to a nearby church or some place where there's a way to protect the coats from the weather.

Friday morning, Unger was taking it down and a woman driving by shouted, "Hooray for charitable donations!"

Unger says she's not giving up, but in the meantime, she's disappointed. She said some of the coats she has on hand will be taken to a local church and may also give them to a homeless shelter.

“Last night when I got off the phone I cried a little bit because we could see it was helping people. So it's unfortunate that the complaints of a few would take the project away from people that need it,” she said.

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