Temperatures are plunging, but kids in the metro area will have warm clothing this winter, thanks to the community’s generosity and support of the Koats 4 Kids campaign.

In partnership with the Waterloo Community Foundation, "Koats 4 Kids" recently distributed 958 coats, 848 pairs of boots, 411 snow pants and hundreds of hats, gloves and scarves to low income kids living in our community. Donations are received from individuals, church groups, businesses, veterans groups, unions and civic organizations. These funds are used to purchase coats, boots and snow pants with local women making hats and scarves.

Although fundraising goes on all year, the process starts in the fall when school personnel identify students needing warm clothing. During the month of December, over 100 volunteers go to area schools and help students select their winter clothing. Koats4Kids also provides a small inventory of clothing for students transferring into area schools during the second semester of the school year.

Having the “gift of warmth” means so much more than just warm clothing. Organizer Julie Ehlers receives many heartfelt notes from school administrators and staff, volunteers that help with clothing distribution and from the students themselves. Students skip down the hallway telling everyone that they have a new coat or they have a big smile after donning their new coat. Visit Koats 4 Kids Facebook page for more comments of joy and appreciation.

Fundraising starts now for next winter. A donation of $ 25 purchases a coat, hat, gloves and scarf, with an additional $35 for a pair of boots and snow pants. Send tax deductible donations to the Waterloo Community Foundation at 425 Cedar Street, Suite 320 in Waterloo, IA 50701. On-line giving is also available by going to Waterloo Community Foundation and clicking on the “Donate” button.