Kiwanis Club of Lake Charles wants this year’s Coats for Kids Drive to be the best ever

Published 6:38 am Sunday, October 2, 2022

It’s time to clean out your closets because the season of giving is about to begin for the Kiwanis Club of Lake Charles with their 34th annual Coats for Kids drive in just two weeks.

Last year, the team collected more than 2,500 coats and raised $17,000 that was evenly distributed among Abraham’s Tent, Boys Village, ETC Harbour House, Care Help of Sulphur, CARC, CPSB McKinney-Vento Assistance to Homeless Children, DeWanna’s Closet, Oasis Women’s Shelter, Potters House and The Lord’s Place.

This year, their goal is to top that.

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“This year’s 30 collection boxes are being placed in local schools and businesses starting Oct. 17 with the hope of exceeding last year’s collection, which was 2,532 coats,” said Coats for Kids co-chair Steve Ek.

Ek, who also serves as the club’s treasurer, said the 10 organizations who benefit from the project were chosen because they are “actively engaged with the homeless and the needy in the community.”

“This is a purely community and school-based service project and the significance of it is that when the cold weather comes around, there are many, many people around who do not have warm clothing,” Ek said. “Our objective is to provide them with that each year.”

Ek said in the 34 years since the project’s inception, the club has distributed about 38,000 coats.

“The support from the community has just been fantastic,” he said.

Co-chair Jim Myer said events such as the coat drive are important to unite people with the resources to help to those who are in need.

“We’re the facilitators for this grand connection,” he said, adding the club is accepting coats of all sizes.

“We take coats for everyone, not just kids anymore,” Meyer said.

The drive will end on Nov 18, the Friday before the Thanksgiving holiday for Calcasieu Parish public schools.

Ek said Runte Lake Cleaners has volunteered to clean the coats before they are distributed.

During the drive, the club will also host the Coats for Kids Spooktacular set for 5-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, at Crying Eagle Brewing Company, 1165 East McNeese St.

Admission to the event is free, but those who donate a coat of any size will receive a free Spooktacular glass, a drink token and a raffle ticket for prize drawings. The family friendly, Halloween-themed event will offer activities for the children and live music by Cry Baby. Other activities planned are a silent auction, split the pot and team coat races.

Typically, about 200-300 people attend the annual fundraiser, Ek said.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” he said. “We fellowship and have a good time. There’s a band there, games, face painting, it’s just a lot of fun. On one side we have the collection and the other side we have the fundraiser to give money to the charities.”