Coat drive nears goal; 300 more new ones needed

In just a few days, about 400 more coats have been collected for needy families, but that still isn’t enough.

The United Way of Johnson County extended its annual coat drive for six days because it didn’t get enough donations in the collection period.

The nonprofit agency needs a total of 1,700 coats to give out to families next week at the annual Operation Bundle Up event, which has been a yearly event since 2002. From mid-September through last week, it received about 60 percent of that number.

Officials asked for help and got a little closer to their goal but are still about 300 coats short. Now, the United Way is extending the deadline for new-coat donations to Wednesday.

“It’s very nice that people recognized this need, but we are hoping we will be able to collect some more,” executive director Nancy Lohr Plake said. “The positive is, we are almost to 1,400 coats. But we are hoping by next Wednesday we will have up to an additional 400 coats.”

About 1,700 coats are usually collected, sorted, cleaned and hung up for residents in need to choose from at each year’s Operation Bundle Up event.

On Nov. 6, more than 500 kids and 200 adults are expected to attend this year’s event.

This week, the United Way sent out emails to about 350 people asking for gently used coats and contacted collection sites to let them know they were extending the donation window through Thursday. But the agency is accepting only new coats because it doesn’t have enough time to get used coats dry cleaned before the distribution next week, Plake said.

Even if it doesn’t meet the goal, that doesn’t mean there will be a shortage of coats or residents will be turned away from the distribution event, Plake said. Having more coats just provides more variety and sizes, she said.

“There will be coats available,” Plake said.

“It’s a numbers game. We just know if we hit between 1,700 and 2,000 we will have enough variety and sizes to choose from.”

More than 80 volunteers will distribute coats to families and children in need on Nov. 6.

No registration is required. Families need a photo ID, proof of Johnson County residency and a child in need.

If you go

How you can still donate:

Johnson County Residents can bring brand new, never worn coats to the United Way of Johnson County, 460 N. Morton St., Franklin, until Wednesday.

Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2719.