Fall is finally here, and that means cooler temperatures are here, and even cooler ones are on the way. In fact, the 10-day weather forecast for Dallas shows lows in the 40s, maybe slipping up into the lowest 50s, for the next 10 days. And we all know that much colder weather probably isn’t too far away.

And while the cooler weather is certainly a welcome change from this past summer’s heatwave, for those who don’t have and can’t afford winter clothing, it can be more than just an uncomfortable inconvenience; it can be deadly.

Joleen Ford, Daire Center coordinator for AIDS Interfaith Network, this week sent an email noting that the requests from clients for coats and jackets are already going up. And you can help by donating new or gently used coats and jackets now. Right now, Ford says, AIN is completely out of small- and medium-sized coats, which means that “a client in need would not be able to get basic protection from the elements.”

Ford adds: “Our clients, many of whom are homeless, would greatly appreciate new or gently used men’s and women’s coats. They are also in need of new or gently used men’s jeans (any width, 32/34 length) and new underwear ( M/L). Any razor, toothpaste or deodorant donations would be helpful as well.”

Donations can be dropped off during business hours at the AIN offices — 501 N. Stemmons Frwy, Ste. 200 — in Dallas. If you need directions or have any questions, call Ford at 214-943-4444.

So clean our your closets and put that stuff you aren’t wearing anymore to good use.