The coat that no longer fits your child can be used to help keep another youngster warm this winter.

The United Way of Johnson County is asking residents to clean out their closets and donate gently used coats for their annual program, Operation Bundle Up.

The program collects coats and winter accessories, such as hats, scarves and gloves from the community for about six weeks and then distributes them to families in need.

Collection starts on Sept. 12 at all Johnson County schools, Horizon Bank locations and Milto Cleaners locations. Gently used and new coats are accepted. Winter accessories must be new.

Last year, 416 children received winter coats through the program. Adults also can receive coats, once all of the children have been served, said Nancy Lohr Plake, executive director of United Way.

“We hope to collect enough coats for every child to get a coat that night,” she said.

Organizers are asking donors who are buying coats for the program to consider donating pre-teen style coats for both boys and girls, Plake said.

Finding the money to buy a new winter coat each year can be difficult for some families, she said.

Some parents might have to choose between paying bills or buying groceries or a new coat. Operation Bundle Up helps parents not have to make those decisions, she said.

“For families buying a new winter coat is sometimes very difficult,” Plake said.

Families who need a coat for their child can attend the distribution event from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4. at Turning Point Church in Franklin.

Those seeking a coat will have to fill out an application the night of the event and show proof of Johnson County residency. Children seeking coats must be accompanied by an adult.

Once the coats are collected by Oct. 21, a team of volunteers inspects the coats to make sure each zipper works and to check for tears or missing buttons. Coats are then sent to Milto Cleaners to be cleaned, Plake said.

Leftover coats not given out at the event will be left at a few locations around the county. Those locations have not been decided yet, she said.

At a glance

The United Way of Johnson County is collecting gently used and new coats for Operation Bundle Up. Winter accessories are also accepted. They must be new.

Here is where to donate:

  • All Johnson County schools
  • Horizon Bank locations
  • Milto Cleaners locations
Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2770.