Trav's Coats For Kids Needs Donations To Keep Kids Warm

Thursday, November 21st 2013, 6:05 pm
By: News On 6

If you haven't already, you'll be breaking out your heavy coat soon.

But not everyone is so fortunate.

For more than two decades now, News On 6 has been a proud sponsor of Trav's Coats for Kids.

The program may be approaching a milestone, but the need is greater than ever.

Coats for Kids is close to reaching 300,000 coats distributed over its 26-year history. But organizers say after handing out more than 5,000 coats last week, they now have less than 500.

Nearly 285,000 lives have been touched by the generosity of Oklahomans, many kids who didn't have to go through the winter helpless against the bone-chilling wind.

"One guy lost his job," Francine Robinson said. "He said he and his family didn't have anything."

Robinson knows what it's like to be cold, that's why she's returning the favor by volunteering.

"One lady, she had twins, and do you know we found two coats that matched for the twins?" Robinson said.

But after the first snap of winter last week, Catholic charities handed out all its leftover inventory from last year.

And the weather is only getting colder from here.

Distribution coordinator Becky Wisdom said the program needs about 10,000 coats to meet their 15,000 a year average.

She said the light jackets they have now just won't cut it.

"A coat is something that you want your child to have on when he's waiting at the bus stop," Wisdom said.

And when the supply runs low like it is now?

"It's heart wrenching," Wisdom said. "It's difficult to send somebody away."

"Every year, I think we're not going to have enough coats to satisfy the need this year, and Tulsa always comes through," John Rothrock said.

Yale Cleaners takes the donated coats, cleans them, mends them and ships them to Catholic Charities to be handed out.

Rothrock said with all of the outreach programs this time of year, this is a need that most people can meet, especially those with children.

"They start out small and they grow, and grow and grow, and need a bigger and bigger and bigger coat, so really it's a great fit; it's a natural process," Rothrock said.

He said knowing that a child's eyes will light up when they find the perfect fit is worth the trip to the closet.

"When you see the kids come in and they try on a couple of coats, and they find that one that fits just right, usually it's the mom's face that lights up. In this weather, it's difficult to stay warm, and when you give back, it kind of warms your heart, too," Wisdom said.

Rothrock said the most needed items are small children's coats and plus-size coats for adults.

You can drop off your new or gently used coats at any Yale Cleaners in the Tulsa area.

Go here to find a drop-off location