As winter temperatures begin to set in across the Mid-Ohio Valley, imagine being the mother of two children and having no money to buy them warm coats.
On Tuesday, a mother in that position came into the Marietta offices of RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) of Washington County, which holds a Coats for Kids campaign annually.
"She said 'It's getting cold and my kids don't have a coat,'" remembered Lisa Valentine, program director.
SHARON BOPP The Marietta Times
Lisa Valentine, program director of RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) of Washington County, and RSVP volunteer Mary Emge of Marietta sort through some of the donated hats, mittens and gloves to be given away during the 2012 Coats for Kids program.
"You could just see the panic in her face," she added.
RSVP of Washington County's goal is to meet critical needs in the community, Valentine said.
"And this is a critical need. There is always a need and right now people are unemployed or under employed," she added.
2012 Coats for Kids program
Collections run Monday through Dec. 17.
Drop-off locations for new or gently used coats, gloves, hats and scarfs include:
The Marietta Times, 700 Channel Lane, Marietta.
O'Neill Center, 333 Fourth St., Marietta.
Washington Electric Cooperative Inc., Marietta.
Peoples Bank locations: Kroger's Shopping Center, 138 Putnam St., Second and Scammel streets, Frontier Shopping Center in Marietta; 1902 Washington Blvd. and 510 Washington Blvd. in Belpre; Ohio 7 in Reno.
Marietta Middle School and Marietta City elementary schools.
Mancan, Inc., 116 Putnam St., Marietta.
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from Nov. 27 though Dec. 20.
Where: Dime Bank Building, corner of Putnam and Second streets, Second Street lobby entrance.
2012 Little Hocking United Methodist Church Ninth annual coat giveaway
Collections run through Nov. 9.
Drop-off locations for new or gently used coats, winter accessories and warm clothing include:
Stahl's Nursery, Little Hocking.
Cool Spot 2, 41820 State Route 7, Tuppers Plains.
Ed Hetzer's State Farm Insurance office, 1101 Washington Blvd., Belpre.
Rockland United Methodist Church, 2300 Washington Blvd., Belpre.
Porterfield Baptist Church, 39 Hollywood Drive, Little Hocking.
Children's Palace, 118 Franklin Drive, Little Hocking.
St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 5080 School House Road, Little Hocking.
Vanderhoof Baptist Church, 23305 Movis Road, Coolville.
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 9; 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 10.
Where: Little Hocking United Methodist Church, 20 Federal Road, Little Hocking.
Although weather forecasts promise another mild winter, Mary Emge of Marietta, who has volunteered for Coats for Kids for four years, said she still worries.
"This winter they're saying it's not supposed to be severe, but you don't know for sure," she said.
Beginning Nov. 5, Coats for Kids collection barrels will be placed at several locations in the county for donating clean, gently used coats, as well as mittens, gloves and hats.
Items will be donated to community members from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Nov. 27 and ending Dec. 20.
Emge said all sizes of coats are needed, from infant to sizes 14 and 16.
"We still need some of the larger coats, too," she said.
"There are some fifth graders that are really big kids, so think adult sizes," said Valentine. "Every coat is welcomed and needed."
Thanks to staffers and volunteers who catch after Christmas sales, RSVP has a stockpile of mittens and gloves, Valentine said.
RSVP volunteers June Rose and Betty Rhodes have crocheted and knitted hats throughout the year for Coats for Kids.
"They're just beautiful hats," Valentine said. "We probably have every size and every color."
In 2011, 726 coats were collected for the Coats for Kids program. Of that number, 554 were donated locally and 172 were donated to the Good Samaritan House in Caldwell.
Little Hocking coat giveaway
Little Hocking United Methodist Church will also be providing coats, winter accessories and warm clothing to area residents during its ninth annual Coat Giveaway from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 9 and 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 10.
"This provides (church members) the opportunity to meet the needs of those around them," said Jenni Dunham, pastor. "Our church's motto is 'Church is a verb,' meaning it's action oriented, not just sitting on a pew on Sunday morning."
In 2011, 656 coats were donated, with 200 of them given to other clothing banks including the Salvation Army and Belpre Area Ministries.
This year's Coat Giveaway will be offered for just two days instead of four, and will have extended hours.
"We've always been kind of curious to see how it would work differently if we had different times of day," said Lois Knadler, event organizer and outreach chair for Little Hocking United Methodist Church.
Knadler said she hopes the longer hours will make it more convenient for those going to work and bringing children to and from school.
The church is hoping area residents will pitch in and donate more coats.
"We don't have as many coats donated this year as we did last year at this time," Knadler said. Coats should be clean and have no broken zippers.
"We're very picky about the kinds of coats we put out," she added. "This way people will get something they will enjoy and feel good about wearing. That's important."
Adults and children are excited to receive coats during the church's Coat Giveaway, Knadler said.
"Their faces light up when they get a coat they really like," she added. "It touches your heart."
Residents who want to make cash donations can send them to: Little Hocking United Methodist Church, c/o Annual Coat Giveaway, 20 Federal Road, Little Hocking, OH 45742.