The district now has 72 more children who will be adequately dressed for the cold weather this winter.
In all, the Knights of Columbus' “Coats 4 Kids” campaign purchased 5,000 coats for children in need and locally, the KCs were able to source six dozen coats through generous donations from the community.
“I'm always impressed with how much outreach we get and how much support we get,” enthused local campaign organizer Nathan Cousineau.
“This year the campaign really thrived on individuals giving donations,” he noted.
“Our citizens stepped up and really showed support for this initiative.”
The campaign is extremely important to Cousineau as he sees first-hand the effects of children coming to school under-dressed for the weather.
“Being a school teacher at St. Mike's, I'm watching families struggle,” he remarked.
“I see it every day," he noted. "The kids are coming to school and they're under-dressed for the weather.”
Cheyenne Calder of Kenora-Rainy River Districts Child and Family Services said it's not hard to tell when children don't have appropriate clothing for the cold.
“You figure it out pretty quickly," she noted. "They'll have three hoodies on instead of a jacket.”
The six dozen coats were handed off to Kenora-Rainy River Districts Child and Family Services on Friday, where they will be distributed to families in need.
Weechi-it-te-win Family Services, homelessness workers at the United Native Friendship Centre, the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board, the women's shelter in Atikokan, and different schools across the district will receive the coats and hand them out as needed,
“We're happy to enable Kenora-Rainy River Child and Family Services to put these coats into the hands of people that need them,” Cousineau said.
“That's all that matters.”
The coats were purchased from Bombardieri at $320 for a dozen, which works out to about $27 per coat—making each donation to the campaign go a long way.
Last year, the coats were sourced from Burlington Coat Factory and looked great. But this year, Cousineau said the coats look even better.
“They are better quality jackets, absolutely,” he lauded.
“I could see these jackets selling in Scott Street at our boutique shops rather than at a Walmart.”
Cousineau is looking forward to getting involved in the campaign again next year and plans to remain involved as long as the need is there.
“After talking to the staffers here at Kenora-Rainy River Family and Child Services, I'm really happy to hear that every year the coats are going to people that need them,” he remarked.
“Until I come back and they say, 'We still have a lot of coats from last year,' I'm going to continue to help provide our community with quality clothing for our children,” Cousineau pledged.