A time for being thankful
Since the late '70s a winter coat distribution has been held in McCook for anyone that had a need for a warm coat. About 12 years ago I was asked to coordinate this event and have done so since.
This annual event has grown to include any warm winter clothing. Clothing is collected throughout the year as well as a clothing drive for two days while we set up for this event.
With well over 60 volunteers, six with students from the Alternative Education Program, Girl Scouts and people from all over our community, the days start at 7:30 and go till 7 each night.
In two short days we set up and organized well over 1,000 coats, an estimated 3,000 sweaters (our ongoing joke is there is 12-sweater minimum for each customer), plus all the jeans, shirts, Nebraska items, baby clothes, children's clothes as well as hats, gloves, socks and scarves.
Donations were received from the entire area, including a special donation from a friend in Lexington, 150 knitted hats.
The past several years an anonymous donor has purchased new children's to pre teen coats, $1,000 is spent, but with the help of our great staff at our local JC Penneys' making sure that all possible discounts are given, has turned into almost $3,000 worth of beautiful coats.
A quilting group from Northwest Kansas donated quilts, Girl Scouts collect in their own communities, Grade school children collected coats and other warm clothes, the area thrift stores donate many coats, boots and other warm clothes and many individuals who brought items to the National Guard Armory.
The true impact of this event is never measured in just numbers, but the big smiles I see on a child that has just "found" the perfect coat, to the 78-year-lady who was thrilled that she has a "new" coat (to her) to wear to church.
A BIG warm thank you goes to the staff at the Nebraska National Guard, (and Jim), Western Tire, JC Penney's, McCook National Bank, the two local radio stations and Connie Discoe from the Gazette for all the "advertising," McCook Alternative Education LIFT students and their GREAT Teachers, and the entire Southwest Nebraska Community for donations and help. We had well over 400 man hours in this 4½ day event. The true spirit of giving is alive and well in rural America.
At this time of Thanksgiving, I am so thankful for where I live and the people that live in this great community.
Now we move on to the next big project: THE McCOOK TOY BOX. The Giveaway is scheduled for Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. Collections are currently under way. Oh, how I truly love this time of year!