LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Throughout the year, the community collected new and gently-used coats to be distributed to local families in and around southwest Louisiana.
For 31 years, the Kiwanis Club of Lake Charles has been warming the hearts of the greater Lake Charles area through its' Coats for Kids campaign.
“It began with an idea from one of our members many, many years ago,” Steven Ek, Kiwanis Club member and chairman of Coats for Kids, said. “Originally, we placed barrels mostly in banks and businesses after that we expanded into the schools."
It’s a small idea that has now manifested into a Lake Area tradition. Each year the organization asks for donations from local schools.
“I have no money for clothes, so I got this coat," a recipient said.
Ek says there’s an endless demand for winter coats in our area. Each year, the Kiwanis Club of Lake Charles collects nearly 1,000 coats and delivers them to various agencies around the area.
“We collected 1,300 coats this year. All these coats are given away free. This is free to those that need it and with this type of weather, certainly, I would think they are needed," Ek said.
With the help of AAA Cleaners, more than 250 coats were delivered to Abraham’s Tent. Steven Ek with the organization says seeing the community response is what encourages them to keep the donations coming every year.
Each year, the Lake Charles Kiwanis club collects nearly 1,000 coats. So far, they have provided roughly 30,000 coats to local families in need.
“That’s what’s important. And the quality of the items we get is really awesome, so they can be used time and time again. We’re grateful for that," Ek said.
Coats collected in the Kiwanis program were given to nine different local agencies this year. The Kiwanis Club of Lake Charles says they are thankful to the community for all the support over the years.