To the right of the sell-back counter at Eugene’s Buffalo Exchange sits a large cardboard box brimming with fur coats. The box, so full that it’s unable to close, holds about two weeks of fur donations for the annual Coats for Cubs drive that aims to bring fur back to the animals who provided it.
Coats for Cubs collects donated fur clothing items to be sent to wildlife rehabilitators that repurpose the fur into bedding for recovering wild animals. Speaking with Buffalo Exchange, Jody Raines, with the Illinois Valley Wildlife Rehab, says that animals prefer the comfort of fur as opposed to man-made towels and blankets.
“It appears to relax them and makes them easier to work with,” Raines said. “Every baby heads right to the fur hiding place when I take them in.”
Buffalo Exchange, a second-hand clothing store with 49 locations in 17 states, has partnered with the Humane Society since 2006 to participate in Coats for Cubs. To date, they’ve received 21,108 donated fur coats, with 1,646 being collected last year alone.
Store manager for the Eugene Buffalo Exchange, Alexa Jaramillo, says that a lot of the donated furs come from people being unable to sell the coats for actual money or store credit.
“Buffalo is all about repurposing,” Jaramillo said. “It feels good to recycle those items, especially if it’s for a good cause.”
This year, Buffalo Exchange is having a small contest to see which store can collect the most donated fur items. Jaramillo says her store is off to a good start.
“We typically have a few boxes to donate every year,” Jaramillo said. “At least four or five. It will be interesting how the Eugene location compares with the rest of the stores.”
The Eugene Buffalo Exchange will be accepting donated furs until April 22.