DAYTON, OHIO (WDTN) – The 40th Annual Coats for Kids campaign is beginning to wrap up, and this year not only involved physical donations of new and used coats from the community, but also monetary donations to buy brand new coats to donate.
Walmart donated $10,000 to Catholic Social Services to purchase hundreds of coats and winter accessories. Combined with a portion of the Buckeye Blast Proceeds and monetary online donations from viewers, the grand total added up to over $17,000 to buy hundreds of coats for the residents of the Miami Valley.
This week, Catholic Social Services visited 2 Walmart locations to hand-select coats and winter accessories to donate, using those financial donations.
Andrea Skrlac, Marketing and Communications Manager for Catholic Social Services said the ability to pick the coats from Walmart allows for a wider variety of coats to ensure every child can stay warm this winter.
“Kids are coming in all shapes and sizes, right up through adult coat sizes,” Skrlac said. “We do know that a lot of the things that are donated tend to be the smaller sizes because kids outgrow them, so we do try to make sure we have some of the bigger sizes as well.”
Sean Espy, Walmart Store Manager said that while Walmart is a national corporation, they still find it important to invest on a local scale.
“Big part of Walmart’s culture is to give back to the communities that we operate our stores in,” Espy said.
For families that are struggling financially, Skrlac said there are many difficult decisions to make.
“For a lot of families, it might be a decision between do I buy my kid coat a new coat, or do I buy the insulin that someone in our family needs,” Skrlac said.
Espy said these coats help eliminate one of those difficult decisions.
“Having the opportunity to provide coats makes that decision for a lot of families easier whether to provide food for the table, or a coat and winter gear for their children during this upcoming season,” Espy said.
Skrlac said these items are doing much more than just keeping kids warm in the winter.
“If we can help them out with some of those things that they know they need, that frees up those resources for things like paying their energy bill and buying medication and putting gas in their car,” Skrlac said.
For those who participated in the campaign, Skrlac said they should feel proud knowing they helped improve a small portion of a child’s life.
“That’s what the Coats for Kids program really is all about,” Skrlac said. “Helping folks who are going through a tough time and making sure that they have what they need to take care of the family.”