TAWAS CITY – Just one week into the new year, Iosco Coats for Kids representatives, the Michigan State Police (MSP) and other supporters of the nonprofit had already conducted their first coat drive of 2022. Considering the need for such items, as well as other warm winter clothing for those in the local community, it’s understandable why they wasted no time.
Held at Tawas City Walmart on Jan. 7, the “Iosco Coats for Kids Stuff a Blue Goose” event was jointly coordinated by members of the MSP West Branch Post and the Coats organization, with participation from a number of first responders throughout the county.
This included the Tawas City and East Tawas fire departments, Iosco County EMS, Iosco County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Natural Resources Conservation officers, the East Tawas Police Department and the MSP.
The volunteers were stationed outside of Walmart to collect clothing and monetary donations – braving the cold temperatures that lingered around the single digits – for five straight hours.
Their efforts were rewarded, though, and the contributions received will help with the goal of ensuring that no children go without a warm coat in the winter months.
According to Jeff Pursey, director of IT development for Iosco Coats for Kids, the cash donations came to $1,360, with Walmart also providing a $100 store gift card, for a total of $1,460.
Pursey added that Coats for Kids received eight pairs of boots, eight snow pants, 64 coats and various hats, scarves and gloves, as well.
In addition to store patrons and other passersby who expressed their generosity, the first responders themselves were also seen dropping money into the collection jar and purchasing coats from Walmart to help out the cause.
Along with other supporters, the drive was sponsored by WKJC Radio and the Iosco County News-Herald, with Tawas City Walmart once again providing a venue to host the event.
Iosco Coats for Kids volunteers state that during the pandemic, they are not accepting or distributing any used clothing, but would be grateful for new warm clothing donations. This includes coats, gloves, hats, scarves, boots and snow pants/snow suits, which are given to needy children in the county.
School distributions are held at parent-teacher conferences in Hale, Oscoda, Tawas City and East Tawas. Coats are sent out to Whittemore-Prescott Area Schools, for staff to distribute to the children there who need them.