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Man who lost business during pandemic uses free time to start coat drive for his community

Small Business Owner Tri Trinh was put out of work when the pandemic hit. He used his newfound free time to give back to the community and keep residents warm.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, big events from graduation parties and weddings to birthdays and barbecues came to a screeching halt. The loss of celebration opportunities meant disappointment for so many locals. 

However, disappointment was an understatement for Tri Trinh, a small business owner who runs an event service called Hot Pink Photo Booth.

“My business was pretty much forced to close" Trinh said. "So with that, I guess the positive side was I had a little more time to give back to the community." 

With the temperatures dropping and his extra free time, he decided to work on helping out the community where he could and came up with the idea of a winter coat drive.

With the help of his sister, he put out a flyer and posted all over social media for strangers to spare their extra coats.

“It's really hard right now for so many people,” he said of his inspiration behind the drives. “If I'm able to help one person stay a little warmer this winter then I think that was my goal.”

The plan was simple: he’d go out on the first three Saturdays in October and hang coats on the Monroe Street Bridge in Northeast D.C. Anyone in need could drop by and grab a coat with no sign-up or planning required. 

On his first weekend, more than 100 coats went out to passersby.

“A lot of neighbors saw it and asked questions and actually went home, gathered some coats and brought more coats over,” he said of his first drive of October.

Trinh’s final drive will take place Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and he is currently most in need of children’s coats and XL, XXL and XXXL coat sizes for adults. 

He hopes anyone with spares will stop by and give them to those in need on Saturday. 

“Just someone like me, just one person can really make a difference.”

If you would like to donate a coat but are unable to make it to the event on Saturday, feel free to contact Tri Trinh to coordinate an exchange. 

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