A program started by a local business owner is aiming to ensure no child goes to school without a warm coat.
The 4th annual Coats for Kids program is going on this month in the Jacksonville area.
The program was started by Tony Moore, an agent with Edward Jones after a friend of one of his children attended a fall bonfire Moore had hosted. It was during the bonfire that Moore realized the high school aged boy had no coat, and after giving the boy one of his own, it was then Moore decided to take action.
“So that started me thinking that here is a junior in high school that doesn’t have a coat, so how many other kids do not have a coat or hats or gloves. So I called around to all the schools, and then I got in contact with Amy Albers with the Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation, and I asked if this was something they would take, and she said, oh yes, we have kids all the time that need something, hats, gloves, socks, underwear, shirts, anything. We decided we wanted to make it an annual event, as long as there was support for it. Because no child in the community needs to be heading out to school cold.”
Moore said the first year they collected approximately 150 coats for District 117 schools to distribute, and when he delivered those coats to the district office, he was told they could have used double the amount. The next day Moore had been given four more coats, and when he dropped those coats off, Moore found out that all of the coats dropped off the previous day, had already been distributed.
Moore said one encounter last year in particular drove home to him how much of a need there is in the community.
“There was a lady that called me about this time last year, and she asked can you tell me when you are giving those coats away. And I said well it is not going to be until the end of the month, but what do you need and I will see if we have it. She had boys, 8 and 10 years old. She told me the sizes, and we went through and found coats that were the right size, gloves, hats and scarves.
I asked where she wanted to meet up at, and for some reason the kids were home that day. The youngest one came up to me, and I said here see if this fits, and he put it on and said, man! This fits good! Then his older brother came over and he tried his on, and his fit well, and he said, Mom, when do we have to give these coats back? And I said the coat is yours to keep, and he said, aw man, I don’t have to go to school cold anymore!”
Moore said coats are needed from size infant to adult and all will be distributed.
Coats for Kids is taking place until October 31st! Drop off any new or gently worn coats, hats, gloves, and scarfs to any of the following Edward Jones representatives:
Bordenkircher’s office – 25 S. Central Park
Will Whalen’s office – 326 E. Morton Avenue
Tom Hill’s office – 1111 W. Morton
Tony Moore’s office – 1853 S. Main, Suite B
All coats, hats, gloves, and scarfs are distributed at local schools.
For more information about the Coats for Kids program, contact Tony Moore at (217) 243-0412