Commentary by Cindy Benedict
In 2004, three women from Carmel United Methodist Church started the Hamilton County Kids Coats drive with the help of the church and the Good Samaritan Network. Ten years later, the program has grown substantially. Last year nearly 3,000 coats were collected, serving 428 families from across the county. This year, they are working to reach more families and are expanding to three giveaway sites:
● Nov. 8 – Carmel United Methodist Church, 621 Range Line Rd., Carmel
● Nov. 15 – Green Valley Church of Christ, 19005 Cumberland Rd., Noblesville
● Nov. 15 – Arcadia Brethren Church, 8989 E. 266th St., Arcadia
Linda Withrow, the driving force behind Kids Coats, is excited to bring the giveaways closer to families in Hamilton County. “We are so committed to making sure that all our families in need have winter wear, but we know it is hard for some to get to the southwest edge of the county,” Withrow said. “With our new partners, we can bring coats closer to our families and I know that will help so many more people.”
The needs are growing in Hamilton County. In 2013, 9,252 children were in the free and reduced lunch program and 4,732 children were living below the poverty line. Providing winter wear promotes health and frees up family resources to pay utility bills. In addition to providing coats, there is a resource fair so families can learn about key human service agencies and how to get help from the many area non-profit groups.
Do you have any coats from last year lying around? How about gloves, boots, or hats? Bring gently used items to Green Valley Church of Christ during its normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday) by Nov. 7. They take all sizes – from infant to adult (think how big some high school boys are!).
Could you help on Nov. 15? It takes a lot of hands and smiles to make this event work well. You can volunteer for a two-hour shift, in a variety of jobs, by registering at http://kidscoats.org/volunteer.
Does your family need coats? Visit http://kidscoats.org/appointments to sign up for coats at any of the three locations. Sign up soon because slots are filling quickly.
Last winter was pretty bitter, but because of Hamilton County Kids Coats, lots of families were able to endure it. Let’s help make the first year of Noblesville’s giveaway a smashing success.
Cindy Benedict is the community engagement manager for the City of Noblesville. She may be reached at 770-2007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.