DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — In our 37 years of our Coats For Kids campaign, it’s never looked quite like this, but our core tradition of giving back still holds strong.
Thursday was the annual coats distribution day, but 2 NEWS and sponsoring organizations changed the process and manner in which coats were given out to keep everyone safe and socially distant in the age of COVID-19.
In September and October, the Miami Valley donated roughly 2,500 coats and dropped them off at LCNB National Bank locations. Cintas cleaned all of the donated coats, and Rush Transportation brought the cleaned coats to its facility and delivered them to deserving organizations Thursday morning.
“We started doing this for Carl’s Coats for Kids with TV-2 way back when and now it’s kept on going,” states Steve Parker, owner of Rush Transportation. “God’s blessed us with an idea of being in a transportation company and to be able to use our resources to make places like Dayton better is what we are here for.”
Rush Transportation dropped off the coats to seven different organizations in the Miami Valley, as well as two local school districts. The organizations were chosen based on need.
“We have over 1,000 clients in our programs that are going to be receiving coats, so this is wonderful and we’re very excited,” beams Marianne Pohlman, the Marketing and Outreach Manager at Help Me Grow Brighter Futures.
“It’s amazing. We get requests for coats, honestly, almost every single day at House of Bread. Coats are something pretty critical,” says Melodie Bennett, the Executive Director of House of Bread.
After arriving at the different locations, each organization will distribute coats to clients and people in need as it sees fit.
“Being a support, providing a warm coat, reaching out to help, checking in on our neighbors is really important,” says Laura Roesch, CEO of Catholic Social Services.
The need this year is greater than ever as we are in the midst of a pandemic.
“In some ways they amplify those challenges through financial strain through the stress, isolation, and the worry that’s coming with this environment that we’re all living in,” states Roesch.
“It’s winter time. You know, coats aren’t exactly inexpensive. We’re in the middle of a pandemic where we’re seen a lot of our prices go up and folks are really struggling to meet their basic basic needs,” states Bennett.
“People are financially really struggling right now who may not have been before, so the need has not only increased in number, but people who were in need before, that need has really deepened,” says Suzzy Nandrasy, Program Manager of Miracle Makers at East End Community Services. “It’s really great that we can provide this to our families and have some nice new warm coats.”
While the distribution of coats looks different, partnering organizations are once again helping to ease the burden and bring a little warmth to those who need it.
“The opportunity to get some coats to families in need through the great efforts of channel 2 and so many other organizations in the community is so much appreciated,” smiles Berta Velilla, CEO of Miami Valley Child Development Center.
For information about these organizations and coat distribution, click here.