Hundreds of people are expected to show up in Charleston today for an annual clothing giveaway to help the homeless, struggling veterans and other needy folks.

The 11th annual coats and clothing give-away will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Meeting and Harris streets.

The group is accepting and seeking donations of adult and children’s clothes of all sizes, coats, pants, shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters, hats, socks, adult and children’s footwear in good/fair condition, nonperishable food items and blankets.

In the event of rain, tents will be available. Lunch will be available on the premises.

State Sen. Robert Ford, a Charleston Democrat and a sponsor of the event, said organizers expect a strong turnout. Some are in need of a helping hand, but many more folks come to drop off donations, he said.

“Tons and tons of people come, and there is a whole lot of stuff,” Ford said. “Even if it rains, our mission will be accomplished.”

The event has its roots in efforts to help homeless veterans, but it expanded over the years to help others in need. Another sponsor, Without Walls Ministry Director Gordon Cashwell, stores the extra clothes and goods that are collected so they can be provided to people in need throughout the year, Ford said. And there is plenty of demand, he said.

“It’s regrettable that something like this is necessary, but it is necessary,” Ford said. “You could probably have a program like this in every city, small and large, in this country.”

State Rep. Wendell Gilliard, another founder and sponsor of the event, said the giveaway offers a chance to extend the holiday spirit and an opportunity for elected officials to hear the concerns of struggling constituents.

“It shows we do care,” he said. “If we don’t get out in the streets and talk to people and understand their needs, how are we going to benefit them?”

Participants include 9.12 Project group, local church and church organizations, neighborhood and community groups and Charleston Convoy of Hope.

In addition to Ford, Gilliard and Cashwell, sponsors include state Rep. Chip Limehouse, Pastor Edward McClain and Sen. Clementa Pinckney.

For information, contact Ford at 813-1777, Limehouse at 740-5855, Gilliard at 209-3123, Cashwell at 958-0703, Pinckney at 726-6019 or McClain at 478-5664.