News Local

Koats for Kids collection underway

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

(Submitted photo)

(Submitted photo)

The annual collection of outerwear for Portage-area children in need has once again returned.

Collection began at the beginning of the month for new and gently used outerwear for children and teens up to 18 years of age. Although focused around jackets - the annual drive collects all things outerwear including toques, mitts, scarves, ski pants and boots from children XS all the way to adult XXL.

“We want to make sure that all kids have warm outerwear this year so they can go to school and be outside and play,” says Dawn Froese, executive director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Portage and Koats for Kids program coordinator. “Winter is coming and we really need people to see if the winter jackets fit their kids.”

The collection process runs throughout the month of October and goods can be dropped off at Portage Fire Hall, Portage Family Resource Centre, Portage Plains United Way, Stride Place, Bank of Montreal as well as Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Items will then be dispersed on Nov. 2, 9, 16 and 23 from 2-5:30 p.m., in the basement of the Century 21 building on Saskatchewan Avenue. Items will be given out on a first come, first serve basis and all that is required is the child's Manitoba Health Card.

The Koats for Kids program launched in the early 2000s and since record keeping began in 2007, anywhere between 600-1000 winter items are distributed each year to local youth. Froese stresses the importance of gently used clothing, as the program coordinators don't have the resources to repair any rips or tears. Donated jackets are cleaned prior to distribution but a seamstress will not be available for repairs. 

“We can't fix anything, even if you think it's just a little fix, we can't use it,” she adds.

For more information, contact Big Brothers Big Sisters at 204-857-4397 or the Portage Plains United Way at 204-857-4440.

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