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New Covenant Academy and The Kitchen Inc. Team Up to Donate Coats

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/newcovenan_5418.mp3

Over 400 people are waiting for a room to open up at the Missouri Hotel, the city’s largest homeless shelter. This means there are hundreds without homes or a place to stay as the colder weather blows into the area. A local Christian school and The Kitchen Inc. are coming together to help those people have a warmer and more comfortable winter. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner reports.

Workers at the humanitarian organization The Kitchen say over a half of the people waiting to get into the Missouri Hotel are children.

They say most of these children are walking to school or sleeping outside without a coat or blanket to keep warm.

Students and teachers at New Covenant Academy, a Christian school in Springfield, decided to start a coat and blanket drive to help those children and their parents fight the elements.

Glenda Scott, development officer for New Covenant Academy, says the students have set out coat and blanket bins in businesses all over Springfield.

“I think there are about 22 businesses around the city that are participating and Vogue Cleaners has agreed to clean any coat that comes their way. So, our job is to collect them, get them to the Vogue and then see that they get over here where they need to be,” Scott said.

She says they are also collecting scarves, gloves and hats.

Scott says the students will periodically go to each business and empty the bins to make room for more coats and blankets.

“The Kitchen Inc. had already passed out like 400 vouchers for coats that people already needed that they didn’t have. So, this is a great need in our community and we are just glad to be a part of it. We want our students to understand to be giving and not just taking," Scott said.

Sarah McCullem, coordinator of community development at The Kitchen, says she was excited to find out students at New Covenant wanted to start a coat and blanket drive.

She says The Kitchen has supported coat drives before, but they have never been this big.

McCullem says so far people have donated several coats for children.“When the kids are walking to school, they’ll have a nice, new coat. When people are going for job interviews, they’ll have a nice, warm coat that looks nice and professional. So, it’s not only going to keep people warm, but it will provide opportunities for people to look professional and the kids will be able to fit in at school,” McCullem said.

She says these coats will help the kids do better in school and allow them to play outside in the colder weather.

“Just like getting a new pair of shoes, getting a new coat to wear to school and to play out in the snow and stay warm is important for kids. Kids can’t concentrate at school if they are cold or if they have walked to school without a coat,” McCullem said.

If you would like to donate a coat or blanket to one of the 22 businesses, visit The Kitchen’s website at www.thekitcheninc.org to see the list of locations.

For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.