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'Definitely a necessity': Koats for Kids helping keep kids warm this winter

With the weather starting to cool down, an annual campaign is working to help keep kids warm through the colder months.

On Wednesday, the United Way Winnipeg kicked off its Koats for Kids campaign, which distributes thousands of coats and winter gear to families in need each year. The program works directly with schools, daycares, and social service agencies to get the items into the hands of those who need them.

“Each year we collect, clean, and distribute about 6,000 coats out to kids and families across our city,” said Melissa Burgess, senior manager of engagement initiatives with United Way Winnipeg.

“We do that thanks to the support of our generous partners who help us to collect all those items, get them cleaned, and out into the community.”

Koats for Kids runs from September to the middle of January and is currently looking for volunteers to help sort donations, fill orders, and get orders out into the community. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age.

The campaign is also looking for gently-used kid’s winter gear, including coats, boots, ski pants, toques, mittens, and scarves.

Burgess said the last few years have been hard on Winnipeggers, as costs have been rising.

“People are having to pay a lot for the basic necessities,” she said.

“To survive our Winnipeg winters, a coat and ski pants are definitely a necessity for folks. We want to get ahead of the curve and make sure that we have those items available for folks when they reach out and need them.”

If you need winter gear, you are asked to get in touch with your child’s school, daycare, or agency to place an order on your behalf.

Anyone who wants to donate can do so at several locations, including six Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service stations. A full list of drop-off locations can be found online.

“We know that there are a lot of families out there who won’t be able to afford the winter gear this year and so we want to be ready for it,” Burgess said.

“The families who need it know now, so orders have already started coming in.”

- With files from CTV’s Ainsley McPhail. Top Stories

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