Again proving the local community’s generosity knows no bounds, the Knights of Columbus—Rainy Lake Council’s “Coats4Kids” 2016 campaign was a smashing success.
Campaign organizer Nathan Cousineau delivered nine dozen (108) winter jackets Monday to Kenora-Rainy River Districts Child and Family Services to distribute to at-risk youth in Fort Frances and the surrounding area.
That was 36 more than last year’s total.
Cousineau said he was thrilled with the outcome of the fundraiser, which was held for a second year here but has been conducted elsewhere by other KC Councils for years now.
The campaign raised close to $2,500, with the goal this year to raise at least $1,000.
“It was great to be a part of this, and have all of the different organizations come together and pull it off,” Cousineau said.
“It’s an amazing thing to have nine dozen jackets that are going to get pushed out to kids that need them,” he added.
While he launched an online GoFundMe campaign this fall to raise funds for “Coats4Kids,” Cousineau noted the main drivers of this year’s campaign were corporate sponsors.
NCDS and BDO Fort Frances raised the majority of the funds through dress-down Fridays, with many private individuals donating, as well.
As part of the “Coats4Kids” partnership, the KCs purchase direct from Burlington Coat Factory. Due to direct purchase and bulk shipping, they were able to secure shipments of a dozen jackets for under $250.
The jackets are distributed through a partnership with KRRDCFS.
“It’s great to be able see the parents’ relief when know that this is something that they know they’re not going to have to pay for on top of Christmas presents,” said KRRDCFS family support practitioner Cheyenne Calder.
“It’s very stressful time of year financially, so it’s great to be able to help,” she noted.
KRRDCFS families are served first, Calder said.
“This isn’t just child welfare, this is clinical and community services, children’s mental health therapists—everybody who works just gets to be able to submit families,” she explained.
“There’s no criteria.
“Because this year it’s been so generous, and there’s so many jackets, I’ll reach out to people at Weechi-it-te-win, and they’ll send out e-mails to their 10 communities,” Calder added.
“And then I’ll also reach out to the [United Native] Friendship Centre and the Métis and give some to them to go to their families, as well.”
If there’s still some jackets left over, they’ll be sent out to the KRRDCFS offices in Dryden, Kenora, Sioux Lookout, and Red Lake.
“They definitely won’t be sitting for months and months,” Calder pledged.
“We start local first and then if they have to go out further than that, we do that to make sure everyone can have a warm jacket to wear.”