Staff and parents of children that attend the Wallaceburg Family Centre St. Elizabeth site have been doing their part to gather coats for the Salvation Army’s Operation Cover-Up.
Julie Fields, a registered early childhood educator at the St. Elizabeth site, has spearheaded the initiative for the past two years.
“I had seen an ad on Facebook for Operation Cover Up with the Salvation Army,” she told the Sydenham Current. “Last year I thought it was a really great cause, so I went and collected a bunch of coats and had a drop off here and brought them all in. We managed to get 8 bags worth.”
Fields added: “This year I decided to do it again to see what we could do. I did notice this year that Operation Cover Up usually had other drop off sites. This year they decided to just drop off at the Salvation Army. With that, I thought it’s kind of inconvenient during those operation hours so I thought if we could collect as a whole centre and have the families bring them in while they brought the kids into daycare, we could probably get a whole bunch.”
Fields said they have been busy collecting coats for the past couple of weeks.
“There is nine bags. We had a couple of big boxes and they were three quarters full each. We have got sizes from infant, toddler and all the way up to adult. We tried to collect plus sizes that we needed as well. There are also some hats, mitts, scarves and snow pants that were thrown in with it because all of that is important too,” she said.
“There are a lot of families who just cant afford a good winter coat for the kids. I just wanted to make sure that everyone is warm. This is a free operation. They can just come in with their cards and pick up their coats. It’s a no questions asked. They just walk right into the Salvation Army and can get them.”
Overall for Operation Cover-Up, the collection period began at the end of September and will continue throughout the winter. Organizers are asking the community to take their clean, gently used coats to their local Salvation Army Thrift Stores in Blenheim, Chatham, Ridgetown, and Wallaceburg. In Dresden, coats can be dropped off at McBrayne Feed and Supply Ltd., in Thamesville at Vivian Cleaners, and in Tilbury at the Information and HELP Centre.
This year the distribution period will run from Tuesday, October 13, to Saturday, November 21, at the Salvation Army locations in Blenheim, Chatham, Ridgetown, and Wallaceburg as well as the Tilbury Information and HELP Centre.
The program is run in partnership with The Salvation Army and is supported by the Prosperity Roundtable and Chatham-Kent Police Service.
– Photo: From left, Kyla Broad, Brynlee Doran, and Colton Gamble, all from the pre-school room, and Julie Fields.