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Helmut Schmidt, Published October 17 2011

Salvation Army Coats for Kids provides warmth for winter

MOORHEAD – About 150 people turned out in the first hour alone of the Salvation Army’s winter clothes distribution and Thanksgiving food box signup on Monday.

It was sunny, but a brisk northwest wind was a reminder that winter is coming for those in the line that snaked around the building at the Salvation Donation Center at 1503 1st Ave. N.

For Rosario Gomez, the chilly wait was worth it.

The Moorhead woman had two coats in hand and several more in a pile. In all, she needed nine coats.

“Cost-wise, this is a really big help,” she said. “Especially with the economy the way it is. … And to prepare for winter.”

A Fargo woman who identified herself only as Shown said she needed coats for three children and herself. She’s disabled, and her income is about $800 a month, she said.

“You can afford to pay all of your bills, but you can’t afford all of the necessities,” Shown said. “This helps save a lot of money for a lot of people.”

Tai Leathers, family services director for the Fargo Salvation Army, was surprised by the turnout.

“Last year, our numbers were up a little bit. This year, I am surprised about the line we’ve seen,” she said. “We were thinking around 100 households the first day would have been a good goal.”

Leathers plans to give out 600 to 700 coats through Oct. 28. The coats and other winter gear were collected by the KVLY Coats for Kids program.

The Salvation Army has also revived its Thanksgiving food box program. It plans to give out 500 boxes, she said.

The box includes turkey, stuffing, potatoes, milk and buns and a dessert item donated by area firms and Great Plains Food Bank, Leathers said. The program could still use $6,000 to cover costs, she said.

Donations for the food box program can be made online at www.usc.salvationarmy.org/usc/www_usc_fargo.nsf.

Donations can also be mailed to the Salvation Army, 304 Roberts St., Fargo, ND 58102. Add the words “Thanksgiving food boxes” to the memo line of the check.

The Salvation Army will also take more donations of gently used winter wear, particularly children’s winter boots, Leathers said.

She asks that donors dry-clean or machine wash donations first. Donations can be brought to 1503 1st Ave. N., Moorhead.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583