More than anyone, Winnipeggers understand the difference warm winter outerwear can make in a child’s life, particularly during the holidays when there are so many memories to be made: building a snowman, going on a sleigh ride, or simply walking in a winter wonderland.
That knowledge, together with a renowned spirit of caring and compassion, has had people in our city (and as far away as New York) rallying for several weeks now to help more than 1000 kids gear up for the season through United Way’s Koats for Kids program.
“In early December, a flurry of orders arrived with the first signs of snow and colder temperatures,” said Donna Albak, Koats for Kids manager. “We had absolutely no inventory and more than 1000 kids waiting for outerwear. We desperately needed donations.”
Winnipeggers responded with outstanding generosity:
- More than 40 schools, businesses, community groups and sports teams held coat drives. (These are the ones we know about for sure – there are likely more) This includes the Province of Manitoba, which collected donations at its annual open house.
- Several people and businesses donated cash – a total of $9000! This includes the Derksen group of companies, who donated $5500.
- The Knights of Columbus, Valu Lots, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Gateway Bookbinding, K&K Manufacturing and Columbia Sportswear all donated brand new coats.
Even people from outside the city wore their hearts on the sleeves of donated outerwear, including Gillam School (who had help from Gardewine North to transport donations). Others were mailed all the way from New Jersey and New York.
Thanks to everyone who stepped up, Koats for Kids was able to fill every single request for outerwear made prior to the holidays, giving that many more kids an opportunity to create lasting memories during the winter break from school.
Special thanks to our Koats for Kids Partners for all their extra efforts during this busy time: CTV, Winnipeg Sun, 99.9 BOB FM, FAB 94.3, TSN 1290, Perth’s, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service and AMJ Campbell Van Lines. Thanks also to Modular Storage for providing temporary storage units to handle the extra donations.
Koats for Kids anticipates more requests in the new year and encourages Winnipeggers to continue donating gently used children’s outerwear. Any clothing left over in March will be stored until next season so we can hit the ground running.