As winter nears, outerwear drive returns

Published 10:18 am Thursday, October 2, 2008

The United Way of Mower County and First United Methodist Church are combining efforts and coordinating a Community Outerwear Drive for Kids to ensure every child has proper winter outerwear this season.

Minnesota winters can be tough when we are dressed properly. They can be almost unbearable when we are not. Many kids in our community arrive at school every winter morning in nothing more than a sweatshirt and sandals. Our goal is to make sure every child in our community is warm and dry this winter. “Our focus this year is on kids outerwear. There is overwhelming need for coats and boots for the children in our county,” said Mandi Lighthizer-Schmidt, executive director of United Way.

“Last year the Community Outerwear Drive served more than 250 individuals who were in need of coats, hats, etc. It was through the generous donations of our community members that we were able to help so many people,” she said. “We expect there to be even greater need this year. We all have coats in our closet that we rarely wear. What better way to get rid of that coat than donating it to a child in need.”

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Donations can be made at any of the following locations Oct 1-15: all Austin Public Schools; Lyle Public School; US Bank; Grand Meadow Public School; Oak Park Mall; LeRoy Public School; and YMCA of Austin Distribution of the coats will take place Oct. 27-28 at Oak Park Mall. If your child is in need of winter outerwear you must complete a request form by contacting one of the following locations: United Way (437-2313); YMCA (433-1804); Salvation Army (437-4566); Semcac (433-5889); Parenting Resource Center (437-8330); and the Welcome Center (434-2863, non-English speaking only). This initiative takes manpower and we are in need of volunteers to help sort and display donated items. If you or your organization is interested in volunteering please give the United Way a call at 437-2313 or visit their Web site at and click on “Volunteer.”