Many Franklin County residents, especially children, will be a little warmer this winter thanks to the collection of 1,485 coats in the fourth annual Warners’ Warm Up Coat Drive.
The countywide drive ran Nov. 1-14 with coat drop-off locations at nearly 30 sites, including businesses, schools and churches.
“We fell a little short of the goal, but to collect over 1,400 coats is really amazing,” said Keith Whittemore, who coordinates the local drive with his wife Linda.
“We did get a lot of coats for kids and toddlers, which is always a need, so we couldn’t be more pleased,” Whittemore told The Missourian.
The children’s coats will be given to Pregnancy Assistance Center in Washington and the Franklin County Children’s Division foster parent group.
The other coats will be distributed to residents by Agape House of St. Clair, Loving Hearts Outreach, Washington, Meramec Mission in Sullivan, Agape House of Pacific and Washington Emergency Relief Fund.
Whittemore said several new drop-off locations in Pacific, as well as The Fulton School in St. Albans, did well, with many coats dropped off.
The coats were sorted this past Saturday at the Presbyterian Church in Washington.
A large number of volunteers helped out, including about 20 St. Francis Borgia Regional High School Student Council members, and members of Our Lady of Lourdes Church and the Presbyterian Church, other families and individuals.
During the sorting, one coat was a real standout, Whittemore said.
“We had a real fur coat donated and it’s in great shape,” he said. “A volunteer is researching what type of coat it is and what the value is so we can sell it and use the proceeds to buy new children’s coats to donate.”
Since the drive started four years ago in Franklin County, over 6,000 coats have been collected, said Whittemore, who is already looking ahead to next year’s drive.
“We will definitely do it again next year and the drive is always held Nov. 1-14,” he said.
“We want to say a huge thanks to all of the businesses and locations that allowed us to put collection boxes in and all of the volunteers who helped with this effort, and especially everyone who donated coats,” he added.