WATERLOO — Donors are being sought for an annual effort to purchase winter outerwear for disadvantaged children.
Organizers of the Koats 4 Kids project are expecting more need for assistance because of the coronavirus pandemic. The project benefits children from low-income families attending 29 schools in Cedar Falls, Dunkerton, Elk Run Heights, Evansdale, Hudson, La Porte City and Waterloo.
“Our initial goal this year is to provide 1,000-plus coats in addition to boots and snow pants,” said Julie Ehlers, who is leading the charitable effort for the ninth year.
“Last year we provided over 2,000 winter items to our kids and we think this year there will be an exaggerated increase due to the hardships our families are facing with the pandemic,” she noted. “In order to provide these items for our kids we have to raise almost $58,000.”
That will provide 750 coats for preschool and elementary students plus an equal number of hats, scarves, snow pants and pairs of boots and gloves. It will also provide 250 coats for needy middle and high school students.
“I want people to know that they can give this ‘gift of warmth’ for just a $25 donation,” said Ehlers. “It will mean the world to a family that is dealing with a loss of a family member or sickness to the virus, the loss of a job, the additional hardships of trying to pay their rent, put food on their table for their kids and pay their additional medical bills.”
She said the $25 will buy a coat, hat, gloves and scarf for one child. A donation of $45 adds the boots while $65 will also pay snow pants.
“We have lots of families hurting this year and we as a community can help them in this small way,” Ehlers added. “It means so much more to us to help as many kids as we can and we can do it with our caring community’s help.”
Donations can be mailed to the Waterloo Community Foundation—Koats 4 Kids Project, P.O. Box 1253, Waterloo, IA 50704. Online donations can be made at wloocommunityfoundation.org.
Koats 4 Kids is also selling brightly colored T-shirts to meet the fundraising goal. Solid red, royal blue and purple start at $15 for short sleeve shirts and $19 for long sleeves. Tie-dye shirts in rainbow or blue start at $20 for short sleeves and $24 for long sleeves.
Mail orders to Koats 4 Kids, 104 Brookeridge Drive #202, Waterloo, IA 50702. Include a phone number and email address. Delivery is free in much of Black Hawk County.