Winter Coats and Clothing
A Message from Richard Porth President/CEO of United Way of Connecticut

coat_drive_man.jpg The winter season has just begun, and people in need of winter coats or warm clothing can dial 2-1-1 or search for "Winter Clothing" on the 2-1-1 website to be connected with agencies, programs, and resources that have winter coats and clothing to give. Follow this link to see details about the 52 agencies in the 2-1-1 database that offer winter coats and clothing.

For donors who have new or clean and gently used winter coats, search for "Winter Clothing Donation Programs" on the 2-1-1 website or follow this link to learn more about the 35 programs throughout the state that accept winter coat donations. 

In addition to the list of programs that receive and distribute donated winter coats and clothing, 2-1-1 has an E-Library paper with guidance on finding free and low-cost clothing for cold weather and other needs. For more information or to be connected to help at any time, visit or dial 2-1-1.

When temperatures drop, home utility usage begins to rise--and so do utility bills. Fortunately, there are many ways to increase efficient energy usage, which helps keep expenses down. 

Whether you heat your home with oil, gas, or electricity, the Energize CT website has tips that will help use energy more efficiently to keep heating costs lower this winter. A few of these tips are included below, but the full list of 150 energy-saving tips for all seasons can be viewed on the Energize CT website.

Energy Saving Tips:
  • Many hot water heaters are factory set for 140 F. That is a lot higher than most people need, and resetting it to 120 F can save energy and money.
  • Set the thermostat as low as comfort permits -- each degree above 68 F adds 3% to the amount of energy needed for heating.
  • During winter months, closing curtains or drapes at night can cut down on heat loss.
  • Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible, including closets and rooms not in use.
  • Dust or vacuum radiator surfaces and vents to minimize heat loss.
For information about energy conservation, utility assistance, home weatherization and other programs or resources available to help with utility and energy costs, read this summary in the 2-1-1 E-Library or dial 2-1-1.

In Connecticut, there are several options available for people to get free assistance with preparing and filing their 2014 tax returns. The 2-1-1 website has an overview, and details about specific programs will be available beginning in late January.

Click here to read an overview of the programs and resources available, and contact 2-1-1 or visit to be connected with local tax preparation assistance after all of your tax documents have been received.

Operation Fuel is currently accepting applications for home heating help through their 2014-2015 winter program. 

The program provides eligible households with grants of up to $500 to be used for the cost of deliverable fuels (oil, propane, kerosene, coal, pellets and wood) used as the primary home heating source. 

Applications must be initiated through an Operation Fuel partner agency.  To learn more about Operation Fuel and eligibility criteria for the program, visit the 2-1-1 website or dial 2-1-1. 

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The mission of United Way of Connecticut is to help meet the needs of Connecticut and its residents by providing information, education and connection to services.