SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The 8th annual Keep KELOLAND Warm coat drive has come to a close at Lewis Drug locations in Sioux Falls, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still donate your new and gently used winter wear.
Well over 100 coats from the Keep KELOLAND Warm drive have already been sorted at the St. Francis House, all to be distributed to those in need of some warmth this fall and winter.
“It’s kind of like Christmas opening these bags up and seeing all the wonderful coats that individuals have sent us,” Tom Foster, volunteer coordinator at St. Francis House, said.
The St. Francis House works to get these coats out to not only their guests, but also to people served by about 19 other area agencies.
“They may have had to be moved or maybe they were released from jail or prison or maybe they had to flee a terrible home environment and they left with just what they had on themselves and that might’ve been when the weather was much nicer,” Julie Becker, executive director of the St. Francis House said. “So it is imperative that we are able to receive these coats and be able to get them into the hands of people to keep them warm.”
The generosity of the community is shown in both the amount of items donated and the time volunteers have spent to help sort these items.
“We’ve really loved doing the sorting here in our house,” Foster said. “We’ve had really great teams of volunteers come in every Wednesday and help us sort them. It’s always gone faster than I imagined possible.”
Though the drive at the Lewis Drug stores is over now, donations can still be dropped off directly at the St. Francis House on North Sherman Avenue.
“We will take the heavy coveralls because many individuals work outside in the cold weather,” Becker said. “So, the coveralls, jackets of course, like we’ve said, the hats, the gloves, the scarves. If people want to drop off winter boots we will take them and be able to disperse them, as many as we can.”
Helping others stay warm as the temperatures become cooler.