Three weeks ago, a family came to the First Baptist Church of Holcomb asking for money to buy a winter jacket for their daughter, and Pastor Joe Stephens obliged.
“She was sharing a jacket with another first-grader so they could both go outside and play at recess,” Stephens said. “We had a family in need, and the church donated some money.”
Stephens said he saw a larger need in the Holcomb community, so he and his church started their first-ever coat drive, specifically for students.
More than a month into fall and 21 days until this year’s winter solstice, community organizations around southwest Kansas are preparing for the cold by collecting donations of winter clothing for children and adults.
First Baptist of Holcomb, at 403 W Emmanuel Drive, is still accepting coats. Stephens said they can be picked up at Wiley Elementary School, 204 S. Henderson St.
In Garden City, the Salvation Army, 216 N. Ninth St., is accepting coats, hats, gloves and scarves.
Case Manager Louisa Favela said the Salvation Army will distribute the donations from 10 to 11:30 a.m., 1 to 3:30 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday. They also will hand out clothing from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday.
In Scott City, the Scott Community High School chapter of the National Honor Society is accepting coats, shoes and boots for children and adults from the public in the school’s main office, 712 Main St.
People in need also can pick up coats, shoes and boots at the high school’s main office.
Jerrie Brooks, an advisor to the school’s NHS chapter, said the Elkhart chapter has challenged all the chapters in southwest Kansas to hold coat drives.
“There are so many kids that don’t have enough,” Brooks said. “Those that are fortunate enough to have enough are willing to share. Our community gives so much to our school. This is one of the ways that our kids give back.”
The Scott County Health Department also is accepting coats, hats, gloves and scarves for children and adults at its office, 608 Main St. in Scott City.
“Lots of people out there can’t afford it,” said health department office manager Marla Williams, who has worked for the department for 25 years. “There’s a need everywhere.”
In Dighton, Lane County residents can pick up coats for children in the lobby at the county health department, 125 W. Long St.
The coats have been donated by First Christian Church in Dighton.
Since he arrived at First Baptist in Holcomb in February 2014, Stephens said he has been trying to get the church to “go outside of the four walls and embrace the community.”
“We’re just trying to bring our Christian values out into the community and fill those voids and needs that are there,” he said.