Keeping warm is goal of Coats for Kids

-Submitted photo
The staff of the Community Health Center of Fort Dodge prepares to distribute winter clothing during the 2020 Coats for Kids effort.

Coats that kids have outgrown and mittens that no one wears anymore can be found in closets and drawers throughout Webster County.

The annual Coats for Kids effort now gearing up aims to get those items to families with children who need warm clothing for the coming winter.

Donations of new or gently-used clean coats, gloves, mittens, hats, snow pants and boots are being accepted at several locations throughout Fort Dodge. Monetary donations that will be used to buy winter clothing will also be accepted.

Items will be accepted through Nov. 12.

Those items will be distributed to families on Nov. 20 at the Community Health Center of Fort Dodge, 126 N. 10th St.

Last year, the Coats for Kids effort distributed more than 700 coats.

In 2019, more than 500 coats were distributed.

The project was started 11 years ago by Lisa and Ed Shimkat Jr. after Lisa Shimkat, a member of the Fort Dodge Community School District Board of Education, noticed how many school students needed good winter clothing. The effort was conducted by Shimkat Motor Co. for several years. Because of the growth of the program, the car dealership joined forces with the Community Health Center of Fort Dodge to conduct it.

”The project just kept getting bigger because of the need,” said Regina Suhrbier, outreach coordinator for the health center.

While the effort is called Coats for Kids, Suhrbier said coats in adult sizes will be accepted also because high schoolers and even some middle school students wear adult sizes.

The pandemic turned last year’s coat distribution into a drive-thru effort. Parents drove up to the Community Health Center and a staff member went to the vehicle to find out what was needed. The staff members then brought the items to the vehicle. Suhrbier said the same procedure will be used this year.

”It worked well for us as well as for the recipients,” she said.”it’s a really smooth distribution.”

What to donate


Gloves and mittens


Snow pants


Where to donate

Items for Coats for Kids can be dropped of at:

Coldwell Banker, 1728 Central Ave.

Mineral City Mill and Grill, 2621 Fifth Ave. S.

Old Boston’s Restaurant and Pub, 809 Central Ave.

Papa Murphy’s, 2813 Fifth Ave. S.

Shimkat Motor Co., 3126 Fifth Ave. S.

Sports Page, 2707 N. 15th St.


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