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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, January 13, 2018 1:00 am


Coat donations help brace against chill

Thank you, Fort Wayne and Allen County! The Holiday Coats for Kids tradition continues with all the coat orders delivered to schools and social service agencies before the arctic chill. A few days ahead of the holiday break, we began to receive additional requests for coats. Teachers and case managers saw increasing numbers of students who needed warm winter coats as bitter-cold weather engulfed the area.

Needless to say, our staff and volunteers worked in a frenzy to locate and purchase needed coats for the correct size and gender. And the Fort Wayne Fire Department made the extra effort to deliver all the coats.

The count of delivered coats is 5,008 (almost exactly the same as last year). The total number of coats delivered in the last 18 years is 55,000.

In 2017, we expanded to provide coats in neighboring counties and a new partnership with Community Harvest Food Bank. Coats were distributed to children who came with their parents or grandparents to pick up food at the Saturday Morning Helping Hands Distribution. Community Harvest also donated space for coat sorting and packing at its north location on Coliseum Boulevard.

In addition to schools, we continue to provide warm winter coats to children housed in homeless shelters and temporary housing locations. And we will be providing through March.

We live in such a generous community that really cares about children they will never see. During hard times in the economy, children seem to suffer the most – many times in silence. Thank you for opening up your heart to these children.

Our sincere thanks go to:

• Our great partners – Peerless Cleaners, Kroger's, Adams Radio Group, Penn Station East Coast Subs, Fort Wayne firefighters, Fort Wayne's NBC, and St. Vincent DePaul Society.

• Corporate donations from Wells Fargo Bank, Lincoln Financial Services, Dr. David Bojrab and Pain Management Associates, Avery Dennison, Aqua Indiana, and Engineering Resources, Inc.

• The many individual and anonymous donors who saw the unmet need in our community.

• Community members, families and Volunteer Center team members who enthusiastically sorted vast mountains of coats, matched mittens, scarves and hats, and filled the orders for each group.

• Teachers and case managers from public, private and charter schools who took the time to place and order for the number of coats and sizes that were needed.

• Our knitters who produced hundreds of sets of knitted goods.

• Every person who took the time to donate gently used or new coats.

Please remember this great Fort Wayne holiday tradition again next year.

Jean Joley

Fort Wayne

CHEERS to Norv and Jerry, who helped transport a large piece of furniture for me. We were all in the furniture aisle at Costco. They heard me say I was going to need a pickup truck to get the item home. They had a pickup truck and offered to help me. They went out of their way to help, and I am grateful.

After they delivered it, we all went out for ice cream. A serendipitous meeting.

Kathi Weiss

Fort Wayne