For the ninth year Keystone Coats for Kids is starting its winter coat drive. The first drive was in 2015 for the Keystone School District. The response from the community and even people from out of the area has been so overwhelming that I have been able to reach out to all school districts in Clarion County and most recent, East and West Forest School Districts.
In the past nine years, coats have also been given to the ACV First Program, Keystone SMILES, Clarion County Promise, Head Start Programs, Pre-K Programs, Knox Caring Cupboard, SAFE, Clarion County Children and Youth Services, Clarion Psychiatric Center and local day cares. To date, 3, 619 coats, 284 pairs of tennis shoes. I have also handmade caps and scarves donated in the past that have been distributed. Last year 49 pairs of boots were distributed thanks to Thrivent Financial.
All coats are purchased through OperationWarm.org. Operation Warm was started by Dick Sanford in the winter of 1998 after he drove past a group of children without coats huddled together at a bus stop in Kennett Square, PA. The sight of the children led Sanford to a local store where he purchased 58 coats that were given directly to the children in need. His generosity inspired the creation of Operation Warm and since then millions of coats have been purchased as a result of communities working together to improve the livelihood of children in need. In 2021 Operation Warm also started offering washable tennis shoes along with coats.
All the coats are fleece-lined and have a fleece lined hood. The cost of each coat is $22.00 and the tennis shoes are $15.00 pair.
Donations can be made payable to Keystone Coats for Kids and either mailed to or dropped off at Farmers National Bank, P.O. Box 665, Knox, PA 16232 or dropped off at Knox Auto Supply in Knox or New Bethlehem. To have the coats here before cold weather, please make donations by October 15th.