Local organizations want coats, coat-seekers, and volunteers

Lois Mierkey, age 12.
Lois Mierkey, age 12.

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The winter cold is here, and many children and families in Topeka go without the necessary protection. The Salvation Army and Scotch Fabric Care have been teaming up for 28 years to run the Share the Warmth coat drive, and they still need donations and volunteers.

In particular, they’re asking for large men’s and women’s sizes as well as kids’ coats.

Salvation Army Major LeeAnn Burkett said, “We always run out of coats for school age kids, ages six to 14.”

But besides that, Scotch Fabric Care General Manager Marlene Showalter says the coats keep pouring in.

“We’ve been doing this for 28 years and you’d think that we’d just out of coats in the community,” said Showalter. “But last year, we collected between 4,000 and 5,000 just in Topeka and between 3,000 and 4,000 in Lawrence. It’s always amazing how giving the community is.”

Burkett said people look forward to donating coats every year, and they look forward to giving them away.

“We don’t want anyone to feel embarrassed or ashamed or feel like they’re too proud to receive a coat. People give a coat, we want to give it away. No questions asked. No strings tied,” said Burkett.

She said the coat giveaway on December 6 is an exciting time. “This is their Black Friday. They can’t wait to come and look for a coat.”

Burkett said last year, people started lining up for coats at least two hours early.

You can drop off donations at any of the following Scotch Cleaners locations in Topeka until 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 22:

  • 134 SE Quincy St.
  • 2801 SE California St.
  • 2007 NW Topeka Blvd.

The Salvation Army will distribute coats at its location at 1320 SE 6th Ave. on Saturday, December 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Salvation Army and Scotch Cleaners have been teaming up for 28 years to run Share the Warmth. The coat drive has provided 228,178 coats to children and adults in the area.

They’re still in need of volunteers to help sort coats and serve as personal shoppers on the day of distribution. Call LeeAnn Burkett at 785-554-9370 for more information.

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