Two-year-old Marcos Ramirez-Lopez smiled as the Salvation Army soldier slid a pair of bright blue gloves on his hands.
His mother and siblings smiled back at him, surrounded by the lines of coat racks and tables filled with hats, gloves and scarves in the gymnasium of the Salvation Army Building in Logansport Saturday.
By the time he left, Marcos was all ready for the upcoming dropping temperatures — adding the gloves, a coat and a hat to his winter wardrobe.
“With today’s economy, it’s hard to get things at all,” said Sara Ramirez-Lopez, Marcos’ mother. “It’s already getting cold and they needed coats and I just didn’t have the money to buy them. We just moved into an apartment and it’s been real tight.”
Ramirez-Lopez and her children were one of the hundreds of families who came out for Coats for Kids, an annual charitable event organized by the Salvation Army and Church Women United. This year, 880 winter garments were distributed to children, including coats, hats, gloves, scarves and boots. Its volunteers say they’re fueled by a passion for community outreach, gladly providing a service its benefactors say is a much-needed helping hand in persisting difficult economic times.
“We just want them to be warm,” said Linda Whiteman, a Salvation Army soldier, shortly after assisting Marcos with his new apparel. “There are a lot of children out there in need who don’t have winter coats and parents don’t have a way of getting them.”
Whiteman said the event has taken place for more than 20 years and that she’s seen positive turnouts in the three years she’s volunteered. Families began lining up an hour and a half before doors opened Saturday, she added.
Lisa Raderstorf, who co-chaired the event, said the gently used winter garments were provided by donors in the community. Cash donations were also contributed, which were used to buy coats in the spring and summer at lower costs.