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Coats For Kids also seeking donations of blue jeans, gloves

By Angela Ward
Oct. 18, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Despite its name, the annual Coats For Kids project of Longview Community Ministries provides more than just outerwear. The event also distributes blue jeans, gloves, hats and scarves, said Lisa Simmons, program manager.

"We always have plenty of coats and jackets, but we usually run out of the other items early on," Simmons said. "So we want to encourage people to donate other clothing items, not just coats."

Donations can be dropped off at participating dry cleaners or Longview Community Ministries' office through Oct. 31. The coats will be cleaned for free before they are distributed.

The Coats For Kids giveaway day will be Nov. 9 at Broughton Recreation Center. Unlike a lot of programs designed to help economically disadvantaged children, there are no income or residency requirements to receive a coat. However, all children receiving a coat must be physically present at the event and must have a parent or guardian with them.

"If they feel their children need a coat, then we're going to give them one," Simmons said.

This week's cool weather should help make people aware of the need for donations and the upcoming giveaway, she said.

"The community has always been very supportive of Coats For Kids, both in terms of donations and volunteers," Simmons said. "We just want them to realize we give away more clothing items than coats."

Each family gets about 15 minutes to select one coat or jacket for each child and, until supplies run out, a pair of jeans, hat, pair of gloves and scarf for each child.

"We want the kids to have coats that fit well and that they like, so we require the children to come to the event," Simmons said. "Parents can't just come in and pick up coats or other items."

Several local school groups are participating in the classroom challenge to see which can contribute the most donations, she said.

"We open the doors at Coats For Kids at 8 a.m., but there are usually people in line when I arrive at 7 a.m.," Simmons said. "There's a definite need for this in our community."



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