Coats 4 Kids accepting donations

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(File photo by MARY MALONE) Addi Morikawa of Sandpoint was excited to meet Kris Crocker of KXLY during the 2016 Coats 4 Kids distribution event at the Bonner Mall. Addi, who was 6 at the time, donated $100 of her saved allowance to Coats 4 Kids.

SANDPOINT — Addi Morikawa was just 6 years old when she approached KXLY 4's Kris Crocker in the Bonner Mall last year with a $100 bill saved from her allowance.

The girl was determined to see the money used to help those in need.

It is people like Addi who have contributed to the success of Coats 4 Kids over the years, and the 32nd annual donation drive is underway as donation boxes recently popped up across the Sandpoint area.

"The folks in our community have made a huge difference with this campaign," said Karen Battenschlag, who is serving as the area event organizer with Coats 4 Kids sponsor Tomlinson Sotheby's International Realty.

Battenschlag said the campaign is not only for kids, donations can help the smallest of babies, adults and entire families in need. Therefore, Coats 4 Kids accepts not only coats, but also winter hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, snow pants, and snow boots of all sizes, infant through adults.

Gently used and new items are always welcome, as are cash and check donations, which are used to purchase new coats.

Donation boxes are set up at 39 locations in the area, including all elementary schools, Sandpoint middle school and high school, J.C. Penney, Yoke's, Thorne Research, Quest Aircraft, Litehouse Foods, Bonner Community Food Bank, churches and banks around town. A new partner this year is the Community Assistance League with a donation box at Bizarre Bazaar, Battenschlag said.

The used coats are cleaned by Nu-Way Cleaners and all items are distributed at the Bonner Mall. While Coats 4 Kids is a regional drive started by KXLY 4 in Spokane, all of the coats and other winter items collected in Bonner County stay in the community, Battenschlag said.

Donations can be dropped off at any of the sponsoring locations until Oct. 27. Distribution at the Bonner Mall will begin Oct. 16 and will continue through Nov. 5 — or until the coats are gone, Battenschlag said.

Those collecting coats are asked to keep an ear out for any "special stories," and take a photo or a short video, which will then be posted to Facebook by event sponsors and submitted to KXLY for their site as well.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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