Coats for Kids campaign is collecting

MICHAEL KELLY The Marietta Times RSVP volunteers Tom Valentine, front, and Jack Paul move garment racks on Thursday afternoon into a room on the main floor of the Dime Bank Building in preparation for Coats for Kids, an annual project to provide children and families in need with warm outerwear during the winter.

An annual project to provide warm outerwear for children and families in need is ready to go into operation.

Coats for Kids will offer free coats, hats, gloves and scarves for children of all ages starting the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 27.

Lisa Valentine, a project coordinator for RSVP, on Thursday was helping two other volunteers, Jack Paul and Tom Valentine, move racks and tables into a big, bright room on the main floor of the Dime Bank Building, the use of which is donated by Promanco Real Estate.

The project, which has run at the start of every winter for at least 14 years, usually collects about 700 donated coats and hands them out over a period of about two weeks, she said.

“It seems like a cold winter coming on, so we will probably give them all away this year,” she said.

Anyone who wants to donate a coat can drop it off at any of 14 locations around Marietta. Many of them are set up at schools.

“If you’ve got a coat you don’t want, just send it to school with your child or drop it off there,” Valentine said. Harmar, Phillips and Washington elementary schools and Marietta High School have barrels. The RSVP office at the O’Neill Center also accepts them, she said, as do several businesses around town, including five Peoples Bank locations, Mancan, Kroger, Washington Electric, and Washington State Community College.

“It’s an important program,” Valentine said. “This is an expensive time of the year, when people have to turn on the heat and other things.”

The Coats for Kids shop will open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.,Nov. 27 and 29, Dec. 4 and 6, and Dec. 11,12 and 13. People who need coats for their children just walk in and pick them out. Adults coats are also collected and distributed.

Valentine said the greatest demand is usually for small children’s coats, sizes 2 to 4, and coats for young adults.

“In recent years, we’ve begun getting hoodies, and those are really popular with teenagers,” she said. “They get snapped up right away.”

The project also accepts gloves, scarves and hats.

“We have two volunteers who knit and crochet hats and gloves, and they’re really beautiful, typically for little kids,” she said. “We put those out a few at a time. They go as soon as we set them out.”

The entire operation is run by volunteers.

“They feel like they get back as much as they give,” she said. “We really like serving here.”

Drop-off barrels for Coats for Kids:

•Peoples Bank Locations: 138 Putnam St., Second and Scammel streets, Frontier Shopping Center, Ohio 7 in Reno, 1902 Washington Blvd., Belpre.

•Mancan, 112 Putnam St.

•Kroger, 40 Acme St.

•Washington State Community College.

•Washington Electric, 440 Highland Ridge Road.

•O’Neill Center, 333 Fourth St.

Marietta City Schools:

•Harmar Elementary, 100 Fort Square. 

•Phillips Elementary, 300 Pike St.

•Washington Elementary, 401 Washington St.

•Marietta High School, 115 Academy Drive.

Source: RSVP, Marietta.