Community Action gives coats to needy

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The Community Action and Food Bank of Provo started its first county-wide coat drive this winter and has outfitted 99 families in need with winter coats.

Ashley Anderson, communications intern at Community Action Services and Food Bank, hands out jackets to clients during a coat drive. (Photo courtesy Community Action Services and Food Bank)

Myla Dutton, the executive director of the food bank in Provo, conceived the idea while she was driving to work and saw people wearing coats that were not appropriate for the current winter weather in Provo. Instead of mulling over the idea, she decided to take action.

“I made a decision and put together a team,” Dutton said.

The team has since organized the coat drive, which has received over 700 coats and distributed 282. They have also collected and distributed hats, scarves and gloves.

Kaitlan Marsden, the volunteer coordinator, said that the project has not been short of needed volunteers.

“We’ve had an outpouring of people who have wanted to volunteer, more than we could accommodate,” Marsden said.

Craig Severinsen, the communications director, said in an email that it is always a stirring experience when people come to get coats and express gratitude. He recalled a story of a mother who came in to get her son a coat.

“He had no coat and had been wearing multiple sweatshirts to school each day,” Severinsen said.

Many different organizations have found ways to contribute to the coat drive either through donating coats or volunteering. Some organizations include local churches, scout troops, wards, families and businesses.

 

“We even had a very cute group of five- and six-year-old girl scouts drop off about 30 coats,” Severinsen said.

However, whether you donate 30 coats or one, any donation is welcome and could help someone in need.

“People sometimes think that they need to give five bags of food, or one coat or two coats or five, but all things make a difference,” Dutton said.

Dutton also said it is important to help others in our community and that by being active in serving members of our community people become more aware of the needs in the community. She also said that giving is not just beneficial to the recipient, but also to the giver.

“It’s a great feeling to give and know that it makes a difference to others,” Dutton said. “It changes the lives of those you serve and changes your own life as well.”

For information on how to volunteer go to their website at communityactionprovo.org/volunteering, email the volunteer coordinator at  or call their number 801-691-5247.

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