ST. LOUIS — Brandin Vaughn, owner of Brandin Vaughn Collections in South City, was speaking with his wife when she made the comment, “I’m tired of buying clothes for these kids,” after buying them new winter coats. It was then it dawned on him how many families would not have the financial means to purchase coats for their children this winter.
“I’m so lucky and blessed enough to keep buying my kids coats. People are out of work right now,” Vaughn said. “I really wanted to give back to the community and serve those kids and parents who are out of jobs.”
Vaughn then got the idea of a coat drive.
He was able to get the word out about his coat drive through social media and once the community learned about it, families began showing up to his store and donating lightly used and new coats.
On Saturday afternoon Brandin and his partners at Black Men Build set up a tent outside of his clothing store at 2604 Cherokee Street and passed out free coats, hot chocolate, and masks.
Their initial goal was 100 coats for 100 kids.
They surpassed that goal and were able to give away nearly 165 coats to children in need.
Black Men Build is a nationwide organization that meets specific needs in communities.
Dec. 19 was selected as their annual “Day of Action.”
Their team was active in 25 different cities providing different goods, resources, and services.
Brandin and Tef Poe, co-founder of Black Men Build, hope this free coat drive not only made an impact but inspired others to get involved in the community.
“I feel like when these kids are walking around this winter and they have these coats on, this is an experience that they’ll remember and hopefully the families will understand that there is somebody here for them,” Poe said.
Vaughn said coats are just the beginning.
He would like to collect new and used bikes to donate to kids in the community next.
If you would like to partner with Brandin Vaughn or Black Men Build on a community project, you can contact them on Facebook or on the Black Men Build website.