Coat drive for Student in Need underway in Great Falls

Last year’s Community Coat Drive collected more than 600 winter coats for kids in need when organizer Cyndi Baker said she was only hoping for 200.

“It was amazing,” she said. “But they’re gone.”

Baker and other businesses are partnering with My Neighbor in Need’s Student in Need program once again not just to provide coats, but other winter goods like boots, hats, gloves and snowpants in all sizes to outfit kids and keep them warm this winter.

“Lots of times we can have a coat on a kid within the day,” said Kim Wombolt, executive director of My Neighbor in Need.

The goal is to get these coats and winter items distributed early enough this year that a child isn’t caught in the cold without the right gear. Wombolt said she went out last spring and bought as many snowpants as she could get on clearance, but that only amounted to 30 or 40 pairs. They sell fast in the stores, she said.

Baker spearheaded the coat drive last year because she wanted to leave room for My Student in Need to fulfill higher-end and more specific needs. She knew the community could get behind an effort like this, but she didn’t understand how much until she and other volunteers counted 615 coats.

“I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the community,” Baker said.

Places to donate coats, hats, gloves, snowpants and boots:

Prairie Mountain Bank (both locations)
Scheels (Holiday Village Mall)
Claire’s (Holiday Village Mall)
Ace Hardware (Northwest Bypass)
Big Bear Sports (Northwest Bypass)
1st Liberty Credit Union (all locations)
Airman Attic at Malmstrom Air Force Base
Harvest Springs Church (1001 36th Ave. N.E.)
First United Methodist Church (610 2nd Ave. N.)
GFPS administrative offices (1100 4th St. S.)
D.A. Davidson (8 3rd St. N.)
My Neighbor in Need store (525 Central Ave.)

Originally posted in The Great Falls Tribune

Written by Kristen Cates,