FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- If you've driven down Fairfield Avenue in Fort Wayne, you may have noticed the Karpeles Museum. What you may not know is tucked in the back corner of the museum is an organization that's changing lives on coat at a time.
"Clothes for Joes is an organization that helps veterans in need, homeless veterans, and veterans who may just be down on their luck," said Matt Cobb, co-founder of Clothes for Joes.
Donation box locations
Clothes for Joes
2410 Fairfield Avenue
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Fort Wayne Texas Roadhouse on Washington Center Road
Cobb Co-founded the organization two years ago when a veteran approached him about a coat drive.
"Within a week we received about a hundred coats, got them down to Shepherds house, and on that we were inspired to create an organization," Cobb said.
They've helped hundreds of veterans over the years and taken donations from people all over the community; some coats, winter clothes, and toiletries, and others that aren't so practical, such as women's dresses and baby clothes.
"We have to go through and sort everything, process everything and make sure there's no bed bugs and those things, so when we get a lot clothes that we can't use, it's a lot more work on us," Cobb said.
Cobb said he only has five volunteers, so he's always looking for extra hands. One volunteer I spoke with said she was called to help after the loss of her brother.
"I was very lost.. he was absolutely, positively my hero. And I walked around lost because he wasn't there. And one day a friend called and asked would I do a stand down,'" said Kelly Brotherton.
From there, Brotherton got in touch with Cobb to get involved. Now, when veterans come to Clothes for Joes, Brotherton is the face that greets them.
"And I was so thrilled to meet all of these men and women that had served our country, but I was so saddened because they had nothing," Brotherton said.
Thanks to Clothes for Joes, those men and women with nothing can shop for necessities, and leave with a warm coat, and a sense of hope.
"We don't give them just the clothes. We give them more," Brotherton said.
Donations can be dropped at Clothes for Joes boxes, and if you want to volunteer, message them on Facebook here.