Nebraska’s annual Coats for Clinton drive branched out to include warm winter clothing this year in addition to the traditional collection of coats, hats, scarves and gloves.
Organized by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s School of Natural Resources, the drive collected enough cold weather gear to fill seven large bags along with a $1,150 for kids at Clinton Elementary School.
“This is really wonderful,” said Linda Kern, family care coordinator for the elementary school. “We gave out 12 winter coats just last week and pull from our storage as needed — which is daily.”
Natural resources employees have organized the annual winter coat drive for the school, which is located a few blocks west of Hardin Hall, for 10 years. The elementary school has about 550 students, 92 percent of which are in the free- or reduced-price lunch program. Many of the families also participate in the school’s Food Market, a partnership with the Food Bank of Lincoln that helps provide food each night and during weekends.
The Coats for Clinton campaign makes a big difference in lives of the school’s families and students, Kern said.
This year, Kern will make holiday gift bags including a hat, gloves, scarves, a coat and clothing for 50 of the school’s families. The remaining donations will be added to the school stockroom and given out as needed.
“We are grateful to be surrounded by kind, compassionate people who recognize winter can be a trying time for many of our families,” Kern said.
Jennifer Aerni, a former recruiter for the School of Natural Resources, organized the collection drive the first time in 2007. The school’s community engagement committee has continued the drive.
“Every year SNR employees and students continue to contribute generously to Coats for Clinton,” Ebbeka said. “I think that reflects their belief in the activity and the help it gives to our neighborhood families.”