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SIOUX CITY, IA (51105)
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Keeping kids warm
Knights expand Coats for Kids drive

By MICHELLE DELANEY, Globe staff reporter

Iowa is not known for its mild temperatures. The summer’s heat can reach past 100 degrees and in the winter, temperatures can dip down to negative 20. It is essential that people have the right clothing to protect themselves from the weather.

The Knights of Columbus has addressed this need and for several years has conducted a Coats for Kids drive. This drive helps collect winter coats for children to shield them from the harsh Iowa winter conditions.

In an effort to increase their impact, the Knights in the Sioux City area are taking their efforts to the next level. This year they are ordering boxes of new coats at a discounted price.

One box costs a mere $200, including shipping and handling, and contains 12 coats in different sizes and colors for either girls or boys. This program helps maximize contributors’ dollars by reducing the cost of each individual coat to approximately $17.

“This is a great avenue for us to get new coats for a reasonable price,” said LeRoy Goeden, fourth degree Knight and insurance representative for the Sioux City area. “The price is much better than what you can find at a retail store, your dollar goes further.”

Currently, Goeden is going to churches and community members around the area and asking for donations.

“My goal is to let people know that they can maximize their dollar and that every dollar they give to this goes 100 percent to the kids,” said Goeden. “There is no middle man or additional charge, we’re able to get these coats to people who need it and we’re doing it at a very discounted price.”

Once someone buys a box of coats he or she can choose if they want the coats delivered to a personal cause or if they want them sent to Mary’s Choice.

If they choose to send them to Mary’s Choice, they can receive vouchers for each coat bought. That way they can distribute the vouchers to whomever they see fit.

Goeden explained that if there are any coats that have not been claimed by Jan. 15, they will be donated to Mary’s Choice. This means that anyone can pick up a coat even if they do not have a voucher.

“We don’t want to sit on this stuff. We want to get it out to the people who need it,” said Goeden.

The Knights of Columbus chose to send coats to Mary’s Choice for several reasons. They wanted people to be able to get help in a discrete and private manner, they wanted to assist in Mary’s Choice mission of helping children and they wanted people to have several coat size and color options.

People can order a box of coats on their own but, as Goeden noted, the reason they chose to do this as one big project is so people have the opportunity for a bigger selection.

Another way that this program is helping the community is by utilizing the Squires program. The Squires are Catholic young men ages 10 to 18 who are sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. The Squires program strives to provide spiritual, cultural, civic, social and physical improvement of its members.

The Squires are in charge of unloading, sorting and hanging the coats.

“I wanted to use Coats for Kids to help teach the Squires responsibility in the community and to be helpful Christians towards other people,” said Goeden.

The Coats for Kids program is not just for Catholics. Any child who needs a coat can get a voucher no matter their religion.

“It’s for the whole community,” said Goeden. “We need to take care of our community and all the children in Siouxland, no matter who they are. We cannot discriminate.”

All of the Knights of Columbus councils in the Sioux City area are working together with this program. If anyone would like more information or to donate to the cause, they can contact any Knights or call Goeden at (712) 490-1243.


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