Coats for Kids keeps winter at bay

Helps area youngsters stay warm as colder weather arrives

It’s hard to imagine facing an Iowa winter without a warm coat. Sadly, some area youngsters could be confronted with just that prospect if their families are confronting a challenging economic situation.

Fortunately, however, through the combined efforts of Shimkat Motor Co. and the Community Health Center of Fort Dodge many of these young folks will have warm outer garments and other seasonal attire as the colder, wintry days ahead arrive.

This joint project — called Coats for Kids — accepts donations of new and gently used winter coats, along with hats, scarves, mittens and snow boots. All sizes are needed.

Community members wishing to help can bring items to be donated to the Shimkat at 3126 Fifth Ave. S. or to the Community Health Center, 126 N. 10th St. Garments can also be dropped off at Mineral City Mill & Grill, 2621 Fifth Ave. S., and Coldwall Banker, 1728 Central Ave.

Cash donations are also accepted. Checks should be made out to Community Health Center of Fort Dodge. “Coats for Kids” should be written in the memo line so the money is used to support that program. Money donations are used to purchase items for children that may be in short supply — such as certain sizes — after the clothing donations have been evaluated. The Community Health Center coordinates finding the young folks in need of seasonal clothing.

Shimkat and CHCFD previously had similar but separate coat drives. Several years ago they partnered to make this important initiative even more effective. The project has proved immensely successful since it began about a decade ago.

That first year alone, more than 1,000 coats were donated, according to Ed Shimkat Jr., co-owner of Shimkat Motor Co. The number of youngsters who depend on this program remains great.

Lydia Schuur, outreach coordinator at Community Health Center, talked about the impact the program has for kids.

“Iowa winters can be really, really cold,” she said. “There’s a lot of kids out there who don’t have coats or snow pants or boots, and then at recess they can’t go and play because they don’t have the right gear to wear. It’s helpful to hand out to them.”

The Messenger applauds this worthy endeavor. We urge community members to give it the strongest possible support. Let’s make sure that all our town’s youngsters stay warm this winter.