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Coat drive warms up for donations
coat drive
A Westside Ministries volunteer help a local student try on a coat last year at the annual Westside Ministries Coat Drive. - photo by Photo Contributed

It is not until that first winter chill hits that causes most people to throw on a coat as they head out the door, not stopping to consider the importance of this basic winter necessity. Many children are sent to school without coats and jackets in the wintertime and Westside Ministries of Turlock aims to remedy that with their annual coat drive.

For 29 years Westside Ministries has been making the community of Turlock a warmer place for children through their annual Coats for Kids coat drive.

“Every child that has comes through the coat drive has gotten a coat,” said Lydio Banaña, Youth Minister at Westside Ministries

The coat drive offers more than physical warmth for children as they are exposed to the compassion and love of the Turlock community. Around 75 volunteers spend their time in shifts to serve children food, help them find the right size coat, give them a toy, and cut their hair. Children are referred by the school district as teachers are charged with distributing tickets to children in need. In previous years Westside Ministries has been able to accommodate over 1,000 students.

“I myself grew up in difficult circumstances, so when I see these kids get their needs met, it is very gratifying,” said Banaña.

Those interested in donating used coats and jackets can drop them off at Carr’s Cleaners on Main Street or Geer Road in Turlock while new items can be taken directly to Westside Ministries at 950 Colombia Street. Monetary donations are accepted as well and can be mailed to WSM P.O. Box 354 Turlock, CA 95381. $5 will purchase a child a jacket.

Coats are distributed from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 9 to 11. Those with questions or who would like to volunteer can contact Lydio Banaña at 667-8593.