Viral Facebook post helps transform coat drive

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A Facebook post is helping to keep the Twin Cities warm.

A West Monroe woman says she wanted to help the people outside during the cold winter months.

Bianca Bedingfield says she got the idea on a normal Friday night, She tucked her kids into bed, and felt thankful for her home on the cold night.

That's when she started thinking. "I was worried about the homeless. I was worried; I knew the temperatures were going to drop," she says.

So she made a Facebook post trying to help.

"I started it thinking, "Hey maybe we can get some donations." I had really no idea that we would even get anything."

The next day… "Bam. Everybody's sharing it," Bedingfield says.

Saturday morning, Bedingfield took her bins to the Monroe and West Monroe Police Departments. By the afternoon, the boxes were filled and donations were overflowing.

"I hugged the officer and just cried because I couldn’t believe it."

In just one day, Bedingfield collected about 100 jackets, 40 blankets, and 60 hats and scarves. "Everything. Anything you can think of that you could need in the cold was donated."

She took the donations to the DeSiard Street Shelter, but she says the overwhelming response has inspired her and she’s not done.

"Everything we get from here on out, my mission is to find the people that haven’t made it to a shelter." Bedingfield says.

To find those people, she's heading back to the same place that helped her get this far: Facebook.

"I’ve asked ‘hey if you know where anybody's at, regardless whether it's Swartz, Monroe, Calhoun, anywhere, we're going to find them."

Bedingfield says she wants to protect the people of Monroe from the forces of Mother Nature. "We hear about deaths shootings all the time,” she says. “We don’t want anyone dying because of the cold."

Bedingfield says her weekend collection has now turned into a full week. She's setting up a box at Easy Living Behavioral Health in West Monroe so more people can donate.