This 'giving tree' has coats and mittens to help Minnesotans stay warm

People who can't afford warm winter clothes can take what they need off the tree.
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A tree outside an Iron Range Minnesota fire department is laced with winter jackets, hats, mittens and scarves.

The Hibbing Fire Department calls it their "giving tree," and it's to help people in need get through Minnesota's brutal winters.

People are encouraged to donate whatever they can to the cause – new or used hats, mittens, jackets, snow pants, etc. for people of any age.

And if you are in need of some winter gear, stop by Station 1 and pick up what you need.

Change the Range

Firefighter and paramedic Rossi Gangl tells GoMN this is just part of a project called Change the Range. She says there are several similar locations scattered from Grand Rapids to Virginia and even further north.

Gangl says this project started last year, and it was inspired by a group of people who go around the Twin Cities hanging scarves on trees.

While organizers say they were a little worried this wouldn't really take off in the Iron Range, last year's turnout was "amazing."

"People are so amazing about donating," Gangl says. The tree outside of the fire department was constantly changing because of new donations coming in and people taking what they need.

This project runs through April 1.

According to the Wilder Foundation, more than 9,000 people in Minnesota are homeless. And the Census Bureau says 10.2 percent of Minnesotans are living below the poverty level. That's fewer than in 2014, though.

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