DALLAS — One in ten local children could be facing the upcoming cold winter temperatures without adequately warm clothing, according members of the Back Mountain Police Association.
To combat this critical shortage, the BMPA launched its sixth annual Warm Coats for Kids Project on Sunday afternoon at the Back Mountain Shopping Center.
The project collects coats, gloves, hats and scarves to distribute to area children who need them.
Ross Piazza, vice president of the BMPA and chairman of warm coats for kids, said each year the group gathers about 500 donated coats and thousands of hats and gloves. Businesses, churches, schools and other locations along the West Side agreed to place a container at their locations where the donations can be dropped off over the next few weeks, Piazza said. Volunteers will pick up and sort the items and distribute them, he added.
“We set up a network to get them out to the people who can use them,” he said.
Piazza pointed out how there are those who can just hand over expensive coats because they are no longer fashionable, and those who walk around in sub-zero temperatures in shirtsleeves.
“It’s inconceivable how there is such a surplus of coats and yet still a shortage,” Piazza said. “It doesn’t have to be that way.”
The success of the project each year really underscores a larger problem in some local families, he said. Some parents would rather “use their money on other things” instead of providing their kids a warm coat, he added.
The project is aimed at providing coats for kids but they won’t turn away coats for adults, he said. “We focus on local people in need and we give them to anybody,” he said.
Local churches, organizations, guidance counselors and school nurses have contacted the BMPA requesting coats for children they see are in need and the group tries its best to accommodate them, he said.
About 15 locations will have the containers available including the Back Mountain Library in Dallas, the Back Mountain Bowl in Dallas, The First National Community Bank in Shavertown, and The Rock Recreation Center in Trucksville.
The BMPA represents 22 local police departments and works with an emphasis on charity, Piazza said. The group thanks members of the community for their donations and encourages other organizations to help with collection projects.
Anyone wishing to make a request can contact Piazza at 570-760-9342. He asks requests remain confidential and that the size be provided.