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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 6th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 39 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 39

Community coats

BY FRANK GONZALES

At the five Rabobank branches throughout Santa Maria and Orcutt, the Santa Maria Noontime Kiwanis have placed festively decorated barrels in which individuals can place new or lightly used coats that will be given to people in need over the coming colder months. If the tough economy and the recent rain are any indication, every coat donated will be sorely needed this year.

The 15th annual coat drive runs through Dec. 14. Once the clothes are collected by the Kiwanis, Catholic Charities in Santa Maria will deliver them to local public and social service agencies.

“Catholic Charities sorts them and organizes them and then distributes them through their network of other social service organizations,” said Kelly White O’Neill, the Kiwanis’ publicity chair.

According to Cindy Bayless, the Kiwanis’ community service chair, a wide assortment of outerwear and a wide range of sizes are needed.

O’Neill reiterated the need for variety when she said, “We are looking for anything and everything, so children’s coats, men’s coats, women’s coats—even if it’s not a coat, but a heavy sweater, or just outerwear—any kind.”

Bayless said that last year the Kiwanis received more than 200 coats, but in 2010 they received more than 600. She hopes the latter number is reached through the community’s generosity this year.

White O’Neill said, “100 Hefty bags [of coats] would be great.”

She also stressed the importance of good winter coats for children and families: “Anybody who has kids knows that even if they got a coat last year, it probably doesn’t fit the kid this year.”

With the economy still making life difficult for so many, dressing growing children becomes an even bigger challenge.

“Unfortunately, things haven’t improved for a lot of local families financially and these coats are just a simple way to keep people warm so they can get to school, they can get to work, they can go about their days without worrying about getting sick or being uncomfortable,” O’Neill said.

For more information about the Kiwanis’ December Coat Drive or about the Santa Maria Noontime Kiwanis, visit santamariakiwanis.org.

Intern Frank Gonzales compiled this week’s Community Corner. Send comments or ideas to the Sun via e-mail at intern@santamariasun.com.