As Turlock welcomes winter and the accompanying drop in temperatures, Westside Ministries is making sure that every child in the community is prepared for the chill with the organization's 29th annual Coats for Kids program.
“The reason we started this coat drive in the first place is because there was a young child who did not have a coat and as a result contracted a disease that was related to the fact that she did not have a coat,” said WSM assistant director Lydio Banana. “Years later, there are still kids walking to school without a coat and we just want to make sure they are warm and healthy.”
Until Dec. 5, members of the community are invited to donate new or used coats of all sizes to WSM, specifically those designed for toddlers and younger children. While new coats and jackets can be dropped off at WSM, used coats and jackets should be taken to Carr’s Cleaners where they will be cleaned for free.
“We are so happy and blessed to have Harry Boucher and Carr’s Cleaners do this because we know it’s a busy time for them,” said Banana. “They work relentlessly to get these coats clean and we appreciate it.”
In addition to coats and jackets, WSM is open to receiving donations of any kind, including the ingredients and supplies they will need to provide a hot dinner to children who receive a coat.
Depending on the amount of money, donations, and voluntary efforts made available, WSM also hopes to provide children with free haircuts and a toy. Community members are encouraged to donate either a new toy or their time to cut the hair of children during the coat drive.
Coats will be distributed to children from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 8-10. In order to receive a free coat and warm home-cooked dinner from WSM, students must have received a coat ticket from a teacher in the Turlock Unified School District.
“The coat drive is a special time for us because it allows us to provide for the needs of our community,” said Banana. “We appreciate how giving the Turlock community is.”
Those interested in donating their new coats can do so at WSM at 950 Columbia St. Used coats and jackets can be dropped off at Carr’s Cleaners at 500 E. Main St. Monetary donations can be mailed to WSM P.O. Box 354, Turlock CA, 95381. For more information, call 667-8593.