TYLER, TX (KLTV) - There are many families in East Texas who can't afford coats for their kids, and the Tyler-based organization People Attempting to Help is holding their annual coat drive to make sure as many kids as possible have new coats that fit for the winter season.
PATH's annual Coats for Kids drive ends Oct. 31, and according to Becky Duncan, PATH's Community Outreach Coordinator, you don't just have to go out and buy a brand new coat to donate.
"They can be new coats of course but really the great thing to do would be a very gently used heavy winter coat that your child has outgrown and take it to one of ten participating cleaners," Duncan said. "They clean the coats free of charge for us, they call me and we go get them."
PATH gave out 1,000 coats last year and hopes to give out 1,500 coats during its distribution period on November 19 and 20, but this year they haven't collected as many coats as they usually do.
"Between 2,300 and 3,000 for the last five years, that's what the total has been. But we give away over a weekend over 1,100 and 1,500 coats," Duncan said.
They donate the rest of the coats, usually light jackets and not heavy winter coats, and other clothes to local charities so families in need will be able to use them.
Maria Prado of Tyler plans to take her children and her sister's children to this year's coat drive.
"I think it helps us out because sometimes we might not have the money to buy jackets and it helps us out," she said.
But while many families will be helped by a new coat this winter season, there will be many others whose kids go without a coat that fits -- which is why it's important for PATH to collect as many coats as possible.
New coats can be dropped off at PATH headquarters at 402 West Front Street. Gently used coats can be dropped off at one of the ten participating cleaners, including Dry Clean Super Center, Eagle Cleaners, Hart's Cleaners, VIP Cleaners, Lucky's Cleaners, Regency Cleaners, Shannon's Cleaners, West Gentry Dry Cleaners and Lindale Cleaners.