Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Baptist Student Center gives out free winter coats to students

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Baptist Student Center (BSC) is giving out free coats to any Southeast student who needs one during the harsh winter.

Originally, the coat giveaway program was created to help international students from countries with warmer climates who may not have a warm coat with them when they first arrive. In recent years of the giveaway, the Baptist Student Center aims to provide any Southeast student with a coat.

Director of the BSC Dr. Bruce Gentry runs the coat giveaway program along with his interns. Gentry discussed the importance of having protection during cold winter months when temperatures can drop drastically.

“It’s a basic human need, and there’s no reason to feel embarrassed about it. We don’t ask any questions,” Gentry said. “If you want a coat, come get one, even if you have a coat and you need a bigger one or one that looks nicer. We don’t ask any questions.”

The student turnout this year has been light when compared to previous years according to Gentry. The center has a large stock of coats and clothes available for students, and specifically, women’s apparel.

BSC faculty are accepting donations, but people should call beforehand to make sure the items they want to donate are needed by the center.

Students who would like a coat from the program can either send an email to Bruce Gentry at or go to the center located on campus at 909 Normal Ave.

If the center does not have a specific size needed by a student, Gentry said special arrangements can be made to help a student so they will not have to go without a coat.

In accordance with Protect the Nest Guidelines, the faculty at the BSC requests students who come to wear a facemask and maintain social distancing while there. The giveaway program will continue to run through the winter months until temperatures improve.

The BSC also gives out free meals to students twice a week, Wednesdays at noon and Sunday nights at six.

“Meals usually run an hour or until the food runs out,” Gentry said. “If you need free meals, between us and several other groups, you can eat a good bit for free.”

For more information on the BSC coat giveaway, visit their Facebook page.

Students who are in need of a winter coat can send an email to Bruce Gentry.