[Hpn] Buy Nothing Day coat exchange PROTESTS poverty amidst plenty in RI USA RI USA

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sun, 26 Nov 2000 22:13:59 -0800 (PST)

``The Legislature which has not done something to end poverty,
and the mall, which got millions of dollars in tax breaks, both
need to hear the message in this,'' -- Greg Gerritt of the
                                       Rhode Island Green Party

FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Nov 24, 2000


     Associated Press Writer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ On what many consider to be the busiest
shopping day of the year, one group was encouraging people to stay
away from the stores.

Adbusters, which claims advertising promotes an unhealthy
culture, sponsored Buy Nothing Day on Friday. The event is designed
to show the effects of consumerism, organizers said.

In Providence, a coalition of local advocacy groups marked the
day with its fourth annual coat exchange. The group asked people to
donate unused coats to be given free to those who needed them.

As shoppers streamed into the Providence Place mall across the
street, dozens of people _ many of them homeless _ browsed outdoor
racks of coats in all sizes and styles.

Some people exchanged coats they had picked up at the event last
year for new ones, said Greg Gerritt, of the Rhode Island Green
Party, one of the event's 40 local sponsors.

``This is obviously a great event,'' Gerritt said, gesturing to
a woman leaving with an armful of coats for her and a small child.

Margaret, a homeless woman who declined to give her last name,
said she was trying to find something for herself and her
13-year-old son. They have been living in a Cranston shelter since
fleeing a violent home in May.

``When you're cold, there's nothing like a warm coat,'' she
said, wearing a sweater wrapped around her neck and face like a

Margaret said she didn't care what style she found for herself
``as long as it's warm.'' But the sweater, which carried the Gap
label, was for her son who faces pressure from peers to have name

``With the little money I have, this helps enormously,''
Margaret said.

The coat exchange was held on the Statehouse lawn next to the
mall to send a message, Gerritt said.

``The Legislature which has not done something to end poverty,
and the mall, which got millions of dollars in tax breaks, both
need to hear the message in this,'' Gerritt said.

Any coats left at the end of the day would be given to a
Providence homeless shelter for distribution.

Bill Flynn, of North Kingstown, dropped off a long black coat
his wife had replaced with a new one. It was taken from the rack
almost as soon as it was put out.

``It went fast. I was hoping it would,'' Flynn said. ``Things
like this show a lot of people are not sharing in this

AP-ES-11-24-00 1533EST
Received  Id AP10032980E6810C on Nov 24 2000 16:52


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