MUSCATINE, Iowa–As part of their mission to help students in need have the tools to succeed, United Way of Muscatine has held an annual Coats for Kids coat drive. For the past three years, United Way of Muscatine has partnered with Community Action of Eastern Iowa to collect and distribute coats to children who needed them, allowing them to safely walk to and from school and participate in outdoor recess. Though this year’s Coats for Kids will look different because of COVID-19 mitigation efforts, United Way still hopes to assist many children.
In previous years, many individuals and organizations would donate new or gently used coats to United Way and Community Action. However, to reduce contact between donors and receivers, United Way will only accept monetary donations this year. “Our biggest thing is we’re so used to getting donations of nice coats from corporate offices, but this year, we need to transition to money only,” stressed United Way Program Manager Nichole Sorgenfrey. If you would like to help United Way with a monetary donation, you may do so on their website, https://unitedwaymuscatine.org/donate/. United Way will accept donations through the end of September.
Using these donations, United Way will purchase brand new coats, which they can get at a significant discount. By partnering with other community organizations, United Way will also have hats and gloves available for kids who need those as well. Community Action will accept applications from area residents with a child in need of a new coat.
Families with children in kindergarten through 12th grade in either the Louisa-Muscatine, Muscatine, or Wilton schools can submit applications for Coats for Kids online at https://www.caeiowa.org/help-my-children/winter-coats-2/ or by calling 563-324-3236. Once Community Action accepts an application, they will communicate with the family and United Way to set up a time for a contact free pick up outside the United Way of Muscatine office at Pearl Plaza (208 West Second Street, Muscatine). Last year, United Way provided coats to 250 students in need around Muscatine County. They hope to give away at least as many this year.
For many, the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has brought economic hardships. With winter nearing, United Way hopes to assist families who need help providing warm clothing for their children. In keeping with United Way’s mission, Sorgenfrey hopes this year’s socially distanced Coats for Kids will help level the playing field for children in poverty. “We haven’t had the greatest luck in 2020–we’re worried that we will have a hard winter and they have to walk to school and go outside for various things, so we want them to be warm and secure,” emphasized Sorgenfrey.