Winter Coat Drive

Sarah Bunich
St. James Plaindealer

Watonwan County Human Services is having its third annual winter coat drive. This year's drive is going to work a little differently from previous years.

Even with COVID last year the coat drive still happened but with how the weather was last year the turnout was not as large as before.

"We did not have a huge turnout last year, but we didn't know if it was due to COVID or winter came upon us a little early last year," said Katherine Petty, Winter Coat Drive Organizer. "We had two weeks of really cold weather before our coat drive if maybe that played a little bit into it. People scrounged up coats from wherever."

Before Human Services worked with area businesses to have donation boxes at their locations to have areas that people feel comfortable dropping items off at. For this year's drive, Human Services is only having a collection box at its office. Petty said it is difficult with how crazy it is this year to split employees up to go out and collect boxes.

Items that are needed each year are children's jackets, boots, snow pants, hats, and mittens. The donations deadline is Friday, October 22, but they can accept them up until the 27.

Donations areas are not the only changes that occurred for this year's coat drive. Based on responses about last year's distribution site at the County Fairgrounds being hard to find and hard to figure out what building to go to, the site has changed to the American Legion. Petty said They have signage that they will be putting out so that people that's where we are at.

Watonwan Human Services for the first time is connecting with Pioneer Bank in St. James. They will be having a few employees go to give some extra help with the setup and the distribution.

This year's distribution is October 28, 4 to 7 p.m. at the St. James American Legion.