Coats and Clothing for Kids campaign to help 1,000 youngsters | SummitDaily.com

Coats and Clothing for Kids campaign to help 1,000 youngsters

The Summit County Knights of Columbus is looking for help with this year's Coats and Clothing for Kids campaign, a three-county drive that helps children get the coats, boots, scarves and other winter wear they need but whose families otherwise might not be able to afford it.

For the past five years, the local program that warms children and hearts alike has expanded its numbers and reach, going from serving children in Summit County schools to including those in Grand County and Lake County schools and the Summit County Head Start program.

This year, the Summit County Knights are aiming to distribute clothing to 1,000 children in 10 schools. Deliveries are made in November, and the group needs to raise $30,000 to meet its fundraising goal.

One of the most anticipated moments of the campaign has to be the delivery — when at least one teacher makes sure to write the children's names inside their new clothing, a moment that always delights the students and the teacher.

"The families are getting what they don't have; that's what's important," said campaign chairman Mike Kramer. "It makes us feel good, but it's for the kids. It's service to one and service to all. That's what it's all about."

The local Coats for Kids program is part of a national drive that began in 2009, allowing Knights of Columbus councils across North America to buy new winter coats and clothes for children in need at a discounted price.

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Since its creation, the overall program has seen more than 310,000 coats distributed across the U.S. and Canada, with more than 78,000 coats going out last winter alone, according to the group.

The local drive was born out of need when Kramer was helping the Summit County Knights set up racks of coats in area churches and noticed jackets for the smallest children were some of the hardest to come by.

The Summit County Knights of Columbus group also provides limited financial support to local social-service agencies for emergency-clothing needs, such as the Adopt an Angel program run by emergency responders, Advocates for Victims of Assault, FIRC, Gabriel House, Mountain Family Center and Bright Start Learning Center.

Meanwhile, the Summit County Knights group draws support for the drive from The Summit Foundation, Rotary Club of Summit County, Breckenridge Grand Vacations, Century 21, Walmart, Hudson Auto, Krystal 93, The Summit Daily, area churches and, of course, private donors.

Tax-deductible donations should be made payable to Knights of Columbus, P.O. Box 3673, Dillon, CO 80435. For more information, please call Kramer at 970-468-6566.

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