Selbyville group collecting coats for veterans

This winter, the Selbyville Community Club is once again collecting coats, sweatpants and sweatshirts for homeless military veterans in Delaware.

The sixth annual “Coats and Sweats for Vets” returns for the entire month of December 2018.

The public can deliver adult-sized coats (gently used) and sweat clothes (new or like-new), for men and women. The collection box is at Selbyville Town Hall, 68 W. Church Street, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Last year, the effort collected about 300 garments, and donations have already started rolling in this year. Everything will be given to the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans in Wilmington, which distributes them to veterans statewide.

“It’s been a very successful project that’s gotten recognition throughout the state,” said this year’s organizer, Rita Hollada (pronounced “holiday”), a local and state officer.

She said volunteers are always happy that the public donates good-quality items.

“People give stuff in very nice condition — sometimes new,” said Hollada. “We pick them up frequently during the campaign. … We bring them back and repair things, sew on buttons if there are slight repairs to be made. And then we box them up and take them up to the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans.”

Donors, she said, might be inspired by a shopping sale, a seasonal wardrobe purge or a deceased loved-one; or people may be looking to downsize.

“We have so many retirees here. As they move here, their wardrobe changes! … ‘This is Sussex County; I don’t need 16 suits,’” Hollada joked.

The Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans provides housing and other supportive services in Wilmington. Their goal is to create self-sufficient veterans, though affordable housing, reintegration into the workforce, engagement with the VA Medical Center and other support services.

And they are always grateful for Selbyville’s donations, Hollada said.

People can learn more about the center by calling (302) 691-7411 or online at Donations toward the housing center can be sent at

“That’s the purpose of the community club: to look at needs in our immediate community, and then something greater than ourselves,” Hollada said.

Veterans have always been an emphasis of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, which oversees the community club. Other Selbyville Community Club projects include education, conservation and other public issues. They’re also preparing to decorate the town park on Church Street for the holidays.

The Selbyville Community Club meets on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. at the Selbyville Public Library. Anyone is welcome to visit, enquire or join the group.

“We work all year, make a bunch of money, and give it all away!” said Hollada. “We’re very conscious of sharing what we have for other people.”


By Laura Walter

Staff Reporter