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Coats for Kids provides needed warmth

Effort provides winter gear for those who don’t have it

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 coats and other seasonal attire as the colder, wintry days continue.

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 Shimkat Motor Co. 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., Coldwell Banker, 1728 Central Ave.; or Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, 511 S. 32nd St.

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 Motor Co, started the coat drive about 10 years ago. Because the effort grew very quickly, the car dealership teamed up with the Community Health Center about eight years ago. The project has proved immensely successful.

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.

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

“I’m surprised at how great the need is,” she said. ”I’ve had many people calling. It’s already cold. ”

”You can’t go out and play at recess if you don’t have the proper gear,” she added.

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.