Early last spring, when the department stores had their winter clearance sales, a Franklin couple went shopping for winter coats.
They weren’t looking for new coats for themselves or their children. Rather, they were looking for inexpensive new winter wear that they could donate to Operation Bundle Up, a program of United Way of Johnson County.
The coats, still in their protective plastic covers, have been hanging in a closet ever since. Soon, the couple will get the coats out and take them to a donation center.
Through Operation Bundle Up, low-income families can get the cold-weather gear they need for their kids without charge. Last year, 266 families received 839 donated coats, according to United Way statistics. The year before, about 1,500 coats were distributed to 294 families.
HOW TO DONATE
Program: Operation Bundle Up
What and where: New and gently used winter coats can be donated at any Heartland Community Bank branch location or at the United Way of Johnson County office, 460 N. Morton Street, Suite D, Franklin. The organization also is collecting new hats, mittens and scarves.
One Greenwood family was typical of those helped by the program, which was started in 2002. The father is disabled, and the family struggles to make ends meet. The money they save by not having to buy coats can go to pay bills.
Another client at last year’s distribution was a Franklin mother who works full time and was a full-time student. She said the money she saved would go for gas to allow her to attend classes in Columbus.
Still another family was attending the event for the first time because their financial situation had changed. Before that, the family had donated coats to Operation Bundle Up.
The program is collecting new and gently used warm winter coats through Oct. 25. Coats can be donated at any Heartland Community Bank branch or at the United Way of Johnson County office, 460 N. Morton St., Suite D, Franklin. The organization also is collecting new hats, mittens and scarves. Each of the six county school corporations will collect coats through Oct. 10.
After collection is completed, volunteers will sort the coats and determine which items are usable. All coats are being cleaned courtesy of Milto Cleaners.
Coats will be distributed at the Operation Bundle Up distribution event from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at Turning Point Church, 3600 N. Morton St., Franklin. Children must be accompanied by an adult in order to receive a coat. Adults must bring identification and proof of Johnson County residency.
If you have gently used coats that your children have outgrown or that you simply don’t wear, take a moment and donate them. They will find a new home with a grateful family and in the process make their winter warmer.