Thank you for supporting Koats for Kids, Winnipeg!

The Koats for Kids program has wrapped-up for another season!

This year more than 6000 donated coats and thousands of hats, mitts, scarves and boots were distributed in the community to people in need. It’s an incredible display of warmth and generosity by thousands of Winnipeggers!

Grades 5 & 6 students at Sister MacNamara School helped kick off the Koats for Kids program last September.

Grades 5 & 6 students at Sister MacNamara School helped kick off the Koats for Kids program last September.

We want to thank the many children and school groups that organized collection drives. Making sure your classmates and other children can be warm is a wonderful expression of what being part of a caring and compassionate community is.

And a special thank you to past and new supporters from the business community that have made significant contributions to Koats for Kids this year.

Volunteers are essential to Koats’ success, and this year more than 400 volunteers contributed over 1,500 hours helping sort, clean, mend and deliver donations. Thank you!

Koats for Kids volunteers hard at work.

Koats for Kids volunteers hard at work.

One in five Winnipeg kids under 18 live in poverty, and that rate is even higher for younger kids. It is essential to provide access to warm winter gear for all children so they can go to school and play outside with their friends without risk to their health.

Since 1989, Koats for Kids has collected and distributed more than 178,000 items to Winnipeg infants, children and youth. Without the generosity each year of thousands of Winnipeggers it would not be possible. Thank you all so much.

Koats will begin accepting donations again in the fall of 2016.

Thank you to our partners:

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Carbone fires-up more mitts for kids!

A $5 donation buys a pair of quality leather mitts through Valentine’s Day.

Carbone Coal Fired Pizza is again helping keep little hands warm in Winnipeg’s frigid weather.

Last year they were able to purchase 350 pairs of leather mitts for Koats for Kids after a mitt drive at their two locations let staff and customers purchase a pair of mitts for $5.

The generosity is back, and co-owners Joe Paletta and Benjamin Nasberg think it will surpass last year.

“We are going to crush last year,” said Benjamin.

For every $5 donation made thru Valentine’s Day at Carbone’s St. Mary Avenue or Taylor Avenue locations a pair of quality leather mitts from Richlu Manufacturing will be purchased for Koats for Kids. Richlu is providing the mitts at a generous discount to help the cause.

Carbone co-owners Benjamin Nasberg, left, and Joe Paletta hold up cards donors buying mitts for kids can add their names to.

Carbone co-owners Benjamin Nasberg, left, and Joe Paletta hold up cards donors buying mitts for kids can add their names to.

Donors can also write their names on a card for display in the restaurants.

Joe says the response has been great since they started the donation drive in January.

“Everyone can relate to being cold.”

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Carbone is also issuing a challenge to businesses and organizations: donate $200 to their Koats for Kids mitt drive and they will deliver some pizzas to you!

A Facebook photo shows Carbone delivering pizza to Downtown Winnipeg Biz to thank them for a $200 donation.

A Facebook photo shows Carbone delivering pizza to Downtown Winnipeg Biz to thank them for a $200 donation.

 

Buy Rite helps out Koats for Kids.

A generous donation helps Koats for Kids keep doing its work!

Koats for Kids manager Donna Albak is sitting pretty after a generous donation of office furniture has improved the comfort, efficiency, and lighting of her workspace.

“It’s been so nice. The chairs are wonderful, and the drawers give us so much space,” Donna said.

Moe Salaam and Koats for Kids manager Donna Albak in the new office workspace.

Moe Salaam and Koats for Kids manager Donna Albak in the new office workspace.

Donna met with Moe Salaam, CEO of Buy Rite Business Furnishings, on Thursday to thank him for the donation of two new L-shaped workspaces with chairs, lighted hutch, file credenza and a divider wall.

She presented him with a keepsake box with two knitted mittens shaped into a heart on a thank you certificate.

Moe takes a look at the thank you shadowbox presented to him by Donna.

Moe takes a look at the thank you shadowbox presented to him by Donna.

“We’ve been lucky. The community has been good to us, so we wanted to give back,” Moe said.

Moe didn’t hesitate when he found out Koats needed to update its office area.

“I said ‘yes, I know Koats for Kids, and if we can do something to help I’m happy to.’”

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United Way’s Koats for Kids has collected and distributed more than 178,000 items of winter outerwear to children in need since opening its doors in 1989.

Learn more about Koats – including how to donate and how to place an order – at unitedwaywinnipeg.ca/impact/koats-for-kids

Sobeys generous with mitts for Koats for Kids!

Sobeys was inspired by Carbone Coal Fired Pizza to put mitts on kids!

It’s a wonderful thing when generosity inspires generosity.

When Sobeys Kildonan manager Scott Innes was looking for a way to give back, he looked on United Way Winnipeg’s website.

There he found the story about Carbone Coal Fired Pizza raising money to purchase hockey mitts for United Way’s Koats for Kids program.

Carbone Coal Fired Pizza managing partner Benjamin Nasberg, Donna Albak, program manager for Koats for Kids, Michael Nugent, and chef and managing partner Joe Paletta with their Koats donation last February.

Carbone Coal Fired Pizza managing partner Benjamin Nasberg, Donna Albak, program manager for Koats for Kids, Michael Nugent, and chef and managing partner Joe Paletta with Carbone’s Koats donation last February.

Scott says the idea of helping provide children with winter gear through Koats for Kids inspired him.

“I have two young kids, and I can’t imagine them going without mitts or having to go to school without a jacket.”

Scott sourced hockey mitts from Richlu Manufacturing – the same company that supplied Carbone – where they gave him a good price to help the cause.

Then last month the store ran a 3-day campaign for staff and customers. For a $5 donation people could write their names on coloured paper mittens cut out by Jennifer Downey, the Engagement Champion at Sobeys Kildonan. The paper mittens were then strung onto yarn to adorn a Christmas tree displaying the generous donors.

The Christmas tree with little paper mitts displayed names of generous donors.

The Christmas tree with little paper mitts displayed names of generous donors.

In total they raised enough to purchase 254 pairs of hockey mitts.

“They’re so generous in this area, anytime we do something” Scott said of his customers.

“I think that’s fabulous.”

Sobeys Engagement Champion Jennifer Downey (from left), Assistant Manager Rex Quilapio, United Way Community Involvement Associate Mariah Baldwin, and Manager Scott Innes with 254 pairs of hockey mitts destined to keep kids hands warm.

Sobeys Engagement Champion Jennifer Downey (from left), Assistant Manager Rex Quilapio, United Way Community Involvement Associate Mariah Baldwin, and Manager Scott Innes with 254 pairs of hockey mitts destined to keep kids hands warm.

Every year Koats for Kids collects, cleans, and distributes over 6,000 coats and 22,000 additional pieces of winter outerwear, and it wouldn’t be possible without donations from the community.

Scott is already hatching plans for a future Koats fundraiser – one with some added excitement.

“Next year we’re going to have a little friendly competition with (Carbone Coal Fired Pizza)…I haven’t talked to them about it yet though.”

Give the boot to cold toes on little tykes!

January 13, 2016, 7 to 9:30 a.m. — drop off new or gently used winter boots for Winnipeg tykes!

Free coffee from Grace Cafe, Jonnies Sticky buns and warm fuzzies! Download a poster now to put up in your office & spread the word!

GenNext Boot Drive January 13, 2016.

United Way’s GenNext is hosting a Drive-Thru Boot Drive, and needs your help to keep children safe & warm this winter. Help us provide children with the critical cold-weather footwear required for safe outdoor play and travel in the winter.

Rally your colleagues, teammates, friends or family to organize a collection drive at your workplace, family gathering, or sporting event. You can then personally drop them off at our improvised “drive through,” (in our back parking lot) and be pampered with some delish Jonnies Sticky buns and a warm cup of coffee.

Enter the United Way parking lot at the Main St. and Alexander Ave. entrance:

Volunteers will gather the boots and off you go in comfort! Gift cards or cash donations are welcomed.

“Why boots?” you may ask…

Families living in poverty are often unable to purchase winter boots for their children. And kids grow fast!

This means sometimes children are unable to participate in outdoor recreation activities in the winter months, or safely walk to school.

“We feel this is a need for kids in our community and a way for GenNext to make a difference. We want kids to be able to walk to school through snow on the coldest day of the year knowing they have the footwear to get them there,” said Jane Helbrecht, Vice-Chair of United Way’s GenNext Council.

“Winter boot donations also give kids the equipment and confidence to get outside and play with their friends and enjoy winter activities.  We hope Winnipeggers will come together on January 13 to help kids be all they can be this winter! It’s something so simple, yet so meaningful.”

The boots collected will be distributed to Koats for Kids and through our neighbourhood resource centres in Winnipeg.

Please email Dan if you have any questions!