Gently used coats for children and adults are now being accepted for donation
PASO ROBLES — Coats for Kids has been helping keep families warm for 35 years, and after two years of modified giving, they will be joining the Toy Bank of Greater Paso Robles for the “Day of Giving” on Saturday, Dec. 10.
The mission of Coats for Kids has always been to distribute warm items such as coats, jackets, sweaters, and sweatshirts directly to North County families, not just kids, in need.
Thirty-five years ago, in 1987, Coats for Kids began when Barbie Butz was president of the Los Niños Auxiliary of the Children’s Home Society. Members of the society were looking to begin a hands-on project to help the community. So they thought, “it’s cold out; how about coats?”
During their first year of distribution, Butz and her fellow members handed out flyers outside of another toy bank, in the pouring rain, and offered people to come down and get a warm coat. That year they distributed around 40 coats.
After a few years, the Los Niños group decided not to continue the coat drive. Butz and her husband John decided they couldn’t let that be the end of the coats. Together, they continued the operation and now have distributed over 3,000 coats.
“The reason I do it, is that I can’t not do it. And my husband is the same way,” said Butz. “I don’t think anyone should be cold.”
The operation continued to grow each year, from their early days of using an enclosed trailer to the Armory in Atascadero and now to the Paso Robles Event Center.
Every year, volunteers gather, sort, and distribute new and gently used coats of all sizes, giving warmth to families in need across the Central Coast at absolutely no cost to them. In addition, the volunteers work with multiple local businesses and charities to serve over 750 families.
But, operations were slowed down the last two years due to covid-19 restrictions. Dedicated to sharing the warmth in hard times, Butz and her team of volunteers put together a drive-thru for the coats.
This year, the Coats for Kids operation will return with one full distribution day with the Toy Bank of Greater Paso Robles for the “Day of Giving” on Saturday, Dec. 10. Gently used and clean coats, sweatshirts, jackets, and sweaters are needed for all ages.
The Rotary Club of Paso Robles has joined the Coats for Kids 2022 team and distributed collection boxes in November to some of the businesses in the Paso Robles area. They will have boxes in other North County communities to make it convenient for those who want to donate a new or gently used item.
Two North County dry cleaners, Plaza Cleaners in Atascadero and Paso Robles and Fashion Cleaners in Atascadero, are also drop-off locations for items needing cleaning or refreshing. They clean them free of charge. Just drop them off, say “Coats for Kids,” and a committee member will pick them up.
Drop-off locations and more information on Coats for Kids can be found at coatsforkidsslocounty.org.
You can find more information on the Toy Bank of Greater Paso Robles here prtoybank.org