PLYMOUTH — Don’t let the warm summer-like days fool you. Winter is coming and when it does, the weather forecasters predict a cold one.
Steve Keiser, chairman of the 12th annual Warm Up Marshall County Coat Drive, is a bit worried.
Actually, he is a lot worried.
“With the economy like it is, there are people, especially children, who will face the winter without the benefit of a warm coat.”
Shivering children is what got Steve, the father of three, started on the project in the first place.
“On the way to work, I’d pass kids at the bus stops, sometimes in the rain or snow, shivering with cold. Some of them would have nothing more than a skimpy sweater or light jacket for protection.”
He couldn’t stand it. “I could actually see the pain on their faces and to me there is nothing worse than being cold.”
He decided to do something about it. “The Oliver Ford Lincoln Mercury agency, Bev and Don Price’s Village Valet Cleaners and, most of all, the Marshall County community have made the program a success; and WTCA is invaluable in getting the word out,” he said.
He expects, including this year’s drive, to have collected and distributed more than 8,000 coats.
“Practically the entire population of Plymouth at one time,” he said.
Price’s Cleaners collect coats, sweaters, hats and mittens all winter long.
They start taking them when folks, especially those leaving for Florida, bring them in as they pack up for warmer climates.
Coats, jackets and sweaters, of any size, are welcomed, but Keiser said that the first things people go for at the distribution site are kids’ wear.
“Snow suits and warm jackets are the most popular.”
Kabelin’s Ace Hardware, recently relocated at 1920 N. Oak Road, provides gloves to go with every coat.
Members of the student council of Plymouth High School, employees of the Oliver dealership and other volunteers will help with the distribution at the National Guard Armory on Monroe Street in Plymouth from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 20 and 21.
In addition to bringing gently worn garments from now through Saturday, Nov. 13 to Price’s, Oliver Ford, WTCA or the Pilot News, volunteers handy with a needle are needed to take home some of the garments to replace buttons, sew up a zipper or repair simple tears.
Unclaimed garments will be taken to the Marshall County Neighborhood Cen-ter, 402 W. Garro, Plymouth.
“Don’t,” Keiser said, “let any child or adult in our area be left out in the cold, if you can help it.”