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November 13, 2013

OUR VIEW: It's more than just a coat

When the snow and ice sputtered Monday evening, most of us bundled up in a heavier coat and cranked the thermostat a notch higher when we got home. For others, it was a warning signal to get out soon and buy a new winter coat.

For those less fortunate in our community, those comforts and luxuries just aren’t in the cards. You might not think of a new winter coat as a luxury, but to many, that’s exactly what it is.

But thanks to the generosity of area residents, hundreds of those families in need now have the luxury of a new winter coat. Their winter wardrobes were also rounded out with gloves, scarfs, hats and boots — all thanks to Coats for Kids, an annual charitable event organized by the Salvation Army and Church Women United.

This year, the program handed out 880 winter garments at the Salvation Army.

It’s these types of programs that fill a gap in our community. The poverty rate among children younger than 18 in Cass County was 22 percent in 2012, ranking it 40th out of the state’s 92 counties, according to information published online by STATS Indiana, a statistical data utility maintained by the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

To those donating winter clothing to Coats for Kids, it’s likely just something you do. But for the kid shivering at the bus stop, your simple donation means the world. It not only keeps him warm as the temperatures fall, but it shows him that others care about him and his family. Your donation shows families that they aren’t alone in these tough economic times.

It shows them we’re a community that will show up in their hour of need. So you see, it’s not just a coat or a pair of mittens. Those are just the outward expressions of our community’s love for one another.

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