Sheldon, Iowa – Fall has officially arrived, and winter will be here before we know it. This year marks the sixteenth year of the Coats for Kids Program in Sheldon. It was started back in 2000 by Jeri and Mark Postma, owners of Bubbles Dry Cleaning.
KIWA had the opportunity to visit with Jeri Postma about the program. She says the community has been good to the business and this was a way to give something back locally. She recalls that the first year of the program the outpouring was overwhelming but she says it has declined somewhat in recent years. Over 7,000 coats have been donated in the sixteen years since the program began, with an average of about 300 per year.
Bubbles will be accepting new or gently used coats of any size through October 26th. Hats and mittens are also welcome donations. Coats are cleaned and if needed, minor repairs are made before they are distributed. In the few days since Bubbles started accepting coats, Postma says over forty have already been dropped off.
Coats will be available on Saturday, November 5th, from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. in the basement of the Community Building. In the past the program ran until noon, but the majority of the coats have been given away much sooner than that so they have changed the end time to 11:00 a.m.
Pastor Craig Nissen of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sheldon is in charge of set up on Friday evening for the coat distribution this year and he tells us that volunteers are still needed for the set-up, as well as packing up any unclaimed coats after the event, which will be brought to Justice For All in Rock Valley. Individuals who would like to help can reach him at the church office at 712-324-3049.
Pastor Nissen stresses that there is an ongoing need for warm winter wear in the community. He says that in the past two years there have not been enough coats to go around for children in need, especially for those in kindergarten and younger. This is a program that he says he wants to see keep going and that it is a great benefit to everyone who participates.
Nissen and Postma suggest that as you are getting ready for the impending cold weather, that you go through your closets, attics, or basements and then take your children’s outgrown coats to Bubbles before October 26th.