Coats4Kidz has winter drive underway

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2023

More requests than ever for coats

Nestled in an unassuming store front at 457 Hwy 6 East in Batesville is a small place making a huge difference. Founded in 2015, Mississippi Coats4Kidz has given out tens of thousands of coats since its inception. 

Founder-Executive Director Linda Keys moved back home to Marks after retiring from her job in St. Louis to take care of her aging mother. On a cold, wintry morning her mother requested breakfast from down the street. On her way there, Keys passed five small boys waiting for the school bus. 

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None of these children had coats on. Keys turned around and went back to speak with the children. They told her they did not have coats. She returned home, but could not forget about those children, so she went to the store and bought five coats. 

The next morning, she met the children at the bus stop and gave them their coats. Keys went on to buy and donate 50 coats that year. From that chance meeting Mississippi Coats4Kidz was born. 

All coats given out are brand new coats. Gloves, scarves and hats are also given. It is the mission of Mississippi Coats4Kidz to make sure no child is cold. They have now expanded to make sure no adult, senior citizen, homeless person, or veteran is cold. If you have a need they try to meet it. 

When the tornadoes hit Mississippi, they were on location, outside of Winona within three days. With a U-Haul filled with new clothes, shoes, bedding, food, water, hygiene products, books and toys for the children, employees and volunteers set up, right in the middle of the destruction. It is because of these tornadoes that the need is so great this season. 

Over 7,000 coats have been requested for these areas alone, not counting other schools, daycares and senior centers that are in need. Approximately 15,000 coats have been requested this season. 

We know we are unable to help everyone, but with your help we can get closer to meeting the needs here in Batesville and the surrounding areas. Coats have been distributed to 27 counties in Mississippi, including Tate, Lafayette, Panola, Desota, Grenada, Quitman and Tallahatchie. 

Coats are collected all year long. As the season for coats is fast approaching, Mississippi Coats4Kidz is busy trying to get coats together. A coat drive is  underway to help meet the needs. Businesses who  would like to participate and be a drop-off area please contact the organization by Sept. 11. The drive will be held from Sept. 11 to  Oct 31.

 Watch for boxes in local businesses or drop by the office at 457 Hwy 6 East in Rose’s shopping center. 

Employees and volunteers can be found at the office or warehouse, Monday – Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone wanting to donate a new coat can take it by. Size and gender doesn’t matter, they have someone for it. 

Call before stopping by, the number is 662-214-5749 or 314-749-6011. With distribution days right around the corner, there will be times when no one is in the office for parts of the day.