As The Des Moines Register nears the end of its yearlong "Iowa Kids" series of reports on the challenges faced by Iowa's children, Register Media is taking action to address a critical need for children in the Des Moines area.
Keeping Our Kids here Warm, the Register's second winter coat drive for public school kids in Des Moines and surrounding districts, launches Sunday.
The effort to protect children from the chill of an Iowa winter is part of Make a Difference Day, an initiative started by USA Weekend magazine more than two decades ago.Read more about how to donate by going to DesMoinesRegister.com/coatdrive
"The Register and Gannett have a proud history of community leadership and making a difference in Iowa," said Rick Green, president and publisher of Register Media.
"I'm proud that our team will once again be collecting these new and gently used coats and then sharing them with kids in our area schools," Green said. "I challenge all local companies to get involved and help us provide warmth to local children as the cold weather approaches."
Drop-off locations around the metro will accept new and gently used winter outerwear through Oct. 25. On Oct. 26, Make a Difference Day, volunteers from Register Media and the outside community will sort and fill coat orders.
Sizes 4/5 through 3XL, in both genders, will be accepted, but coats for high school students are especially needed. Students in need are identified by school personnel, who distribute the coats.
The inaugural coat drive in 2012 distributed more than 2,000 coats to children from kindergarten through high school.
Jamie Gilley, learning services coordinator for Des Moines schools, said the donations last year helped fill a gap for many children. "A lot of times, kids don't get coats very often because they are so expensive, but it is a needed resource," Gilley said. "If you have to choose to buy shoes or a shirt or pants, you're going to go for those items first."
This year, the goal has doubled, said Kurt Allen, Register Media's vice president of marketing and strategy. Organizers hope to collect more than 4,000 coats. "Register Media believes our purpose is to help create a better quality of life in Iowa," Allen said.