A total of 1,317 coats were collected in this year’s Warners’ Warm-Up Coat Drive.
Although not a record, the drive — now in its 10th year in Franklin County — was a huge success, said Gretchen Farrell, one of the local organizers.
“We are thrilled to get that amount of coats in just two weeks,” she said. “Even though the numbers are slightly down from last year, every coat we can donate to an agency that is desperately in need of them is considered a success.”
Farrell noted the collection drive was moved up by one week this year to match the St. Louis drive.
“To be able to get this many coats with this new change is just amazing,” she said. “All the coats collected here will stay in this area.”
Volunteers helped sort the coats this past Sunday at the Presbyterian Church in Washington.
“We had a wonderful day to sort through the mountain of coats and we were very excited to see kids come to help out,” said Farrell.
Students from six area schools, including Washington High School, St. Francis Borgia Regional High School, Union High School, Immaculate Conception School and Washington Middle School, assisted with the sorting.
“We had about 40 volunteers in all and were able to completely sort, count and bag all the coats, as well as the 119 winter accessories also donated, in about 2 1/2 hours,” Farrell said.
The coats are being distributed by nine local agencies that are “extremely happy” to get them, she said.
The agencies are Agape House of St. Clair; Loving Hearts, Washington; Meramec Community Mission, Sullivan; Agape House of Pacific; Franklin County Children’s Division; Gerald Community Outreach and Pantry; Pregnancy Assistance Center, Washington; Union Food Pantry; and Harvest Table, Washington.
The coats were dropped off at over 35 collections sites in the county, including schools, churches and businesses in Pacific, St. Clair, Union, New Haven and Washington.
New and gently used coats of all sizes were requested, especially children’s coats.
“We are very grateful to all who participated,” said Farrell. “Many of the collection sites have done the coat drive for several years and look forward to this important mission.
“We have quite a strong and generous community and to be able to partner with Kurt and Brenda Warner through their foundation for 10 years now is an incredible and immense project that has taken root in Franklin County and is something many people look forward to every year.
“We want to say thank you very much to all who helped out in any way and especially those who donated coats,” she added.