Southern 7 Health, other agencies band together for kids coat drive

VIENNA, Ill. (KBSI) – A non-profit organization is helping children stay warm in southern Illinois. The New Coats New Hope campaign works to make a difference.

Shawna Rhine with Southern 7 Health Department shares a story of a young child in need of a coat.

“We had one child that said, ‘I don’t want a toy. I want a coat,'” recalled Rhine.

Children in the Southern 7 region will stay warm this winter with new coats donated from various agencies and organizations.

Arrowleaf Chief Information Officer Rollie Hawk says that one of the greatest tragedies in the southern Illinois region is that kids who don’t have seasonally appropriate clothing.

“People are really struggling to meet those basic needs, and so for Arrowleaf here, anytime we have that opportunity to meet those needs, we’re proud to step up and do it,” he said.

Arrowleaf is a non-profit human services organization helping families throughout southern Illinois.

The “New Coats, New Hope” campaign is in its 12th year, bringing in its largest donation to-date.

“This year, over $12,000 which got us about 576 coats this year,” said Moury Bass, co-owner of WIBH Radio.

So far, a total of $68,000 have been donated over the years, which makes more than 3,5oo coats available to children in need.

“The guy that started ‘Operation Warm,’ he just happened to see a kid who needed a coat and that’s how he started,” said Bass. “We kind of feel the same way we don’t want to see a kid that needs a coat without one.”

The campaign is only becoming more successful and for a third year, Arrowleaf will also be hosting a shoe drive for the summer months.

Hawk shares the sentiment.

“If you’re a child and you’re cold and you’re struggling, know that there are people out there who love you and care about you and we’re trying our best to help everyone out,” he said.

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