Free outerwear ready to be distributed Saturday

    The Engage! Winter Outerwear Drive was launched four years ago in an effort to help meet the needs of local families struggling through these challenging economic times.  Generous and caring neighbors have dropped off new and gently used coats, hats, gloves, scarves, boots and snow pants in collection boxes throughout town.  Now, the donations are ready to distribute.

    Saturday, Dec. 3, between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. all those in need of winter outerwear are encouraged to stop at 207A S. 4th St.  Winter outerwear for all ages will be available free of charge for those in need.
    Colleen Thompson, who has led the organization of the drive since its inception, said she and all of the volunteers who help to ready the goods are amazed and inspired each year by the generosity of the community.  Since the program began, more than 2,000 articles of winter outerwear have been given to local families.
    In addition to the good number of gently used articles the program receives, financial contributions to the effort have also increased.  Thompson said this year about $650 was contributed throughout the year-- and organizers made the most of every dollar.
    After scouring advertisements, three teams of volunteers were formed to take advantage of “Black Friday” sales.  Teams were formed to attend midnight, 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. sales. 
    “I would estimate that 85 percent of the children’s outwear are brand new items,” said Thompson. 
    In addition to team shopping, Thompson noted some members of the community also had fun shopping for great deals all year long.  “Some took advantage of end-of-the-season sales and picked up things when they saw opportunities, then donated them this winter.  It was just awesome.  We are so grateful to the community for its generosity.  The need is great-- this year more than ever.”
    Thompson noted that any items not distributed Saturday will be given to the Salvation Army for families receiving holiday assistance to utilize.  In addition, articles are donated to the Trinity House of Hope, Prairie Ridge, Francis Lauer, and Head Start.
    “None of the articles are sold-- they are given free of charge to those in need,” she added.

    Donations of new or gently used winter outerwear can be dropped off through today (Wednesday, Dec. 1) at: Bank of America, Clear Lake Bank & Trust, Manufacturer’s Bank and - Read More Via e-Edition

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