Annual coat drive needs more support

Sam Odrowski

The annual “Coats 4 Kids” campaign that kicked off back in September is in dire need of more donations before it wraps up this Wednesday (Oct. 31).
“It’s been a great experience, and we are excited about the donations we have already received, but it’s not as much as we have done in the past,” organizer Nathan Cousineau admitted last week.
“There is still time, though, so we are optimistic about our achievements this year,” he added.
At this point, Cousineau said it’s hard to tell how many coats the local Knights of Columbus will be able to procure, but they should have enough momentum to buy at least two dozen for children in the community.
“Last year we raised enough money to buy 10 dozen coats,” he noted.
“This year I have re-evaluated my expectations but we acknowledge that everything counts,” he stressed.
“Our ideal target would be that all of our youths are dressed appropriately for winter.”
The coat drive, which is a collaboration between the KCs and Burlington Coat Factory, uses donated funds to purchase new, stylish coats for children at about $25 each.
It works out to $300 (U.S.) for every dozen coats, Cousineau noted.
The initiative, now in its fourth year, has played a vital role in ensuring all children adequately are prepared for the winter months.
“‘Coats 4 Kids’ is important for our local families because the cost of living is increasingly disproportionate to many of our families’ incomes,” he stressed.
“The hope is that our [at] risk families will feel some relief during the Christmas season.”
Cousineau is encouraging anyone who is able to donate whatever they can afford.
“We are blessed to live in a community like Fort Frances, and this is a great way to spread those blessings around,” he reasoned.
“As a primary school teacher, I see students come to school every day under-dressed for our winters.
“Many families live paycheque to paycheque, and have to decide between which is more important: food and shelter or warm clothes,” Cousineau added.
“We understand that many different local charities have been asking for support but because of the awesome buying power we have through our distributor, not many charities are as efficient with their funds as the Knights of Columbus are,” he explained.
Those who would like to donate can call Cousineau at 276-7142 or visit the parish office at St. Mary’s Church to drop off money, where tax receipts will be available.
Cousineau is very grateful of the community support so far, and is hoping for more donations before the coat drive closes this Wednesday.
“We are thankful for all of our contributors past and present, and I hope we can continue to providing support for our local families as we shift into Advent,” he remarked.