Every year, my local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police has a fund raiser to collect money to buy a wardrobe for a disadvantaged child just before school starts. The cost to outfit one child for the school year is $200. This year, I gave my usual amount but then a couple of weeks later, I realized that the increase in gas prices disproportionately affects the families most likely to need this assistance. So, I increased my annual donation. They just called me back which is why I thought to mention this to you. It is important to do it now as their shopping is done on the tax holiday.
I know that times are tough right now but I beseech you to extend your generosity in whatever way possible. You can look up the local chapter of the FOP in the phone book and see if they have a similar program. If not, another option is to donate to Coats for Kids. This has been a favorite charity of mine for years. Unfortunately, 25 cases of coats intended for kids in Virginia and Illinois were recently stolen. The loss amounts to $10,000.
I do not blame you if you feel this responsibility should be borne by the parents of these kids but most of these kids live in foster care. Already disadvantaged, they’re usually relegated with overly worn cast-offs. There are no decent kid’s coats at used clothing stores. Kid’s coats are usually passed down to others. It’s hard to do well in school if the other kids make fun of you because your jacket zipper is broken and the snow is a foot deep or the sleeves are torn. They stick out enough as it is.
If you can’t afford to donate money, donate skills. Every year, after the first cold hit, I’d go to my son’s school and inventory the kids jackets in his class. Then I’d come back with my sewing machine, a lot of thread, zippers, elastics and what have you. I repaired the coats in the hallway outside the classroom door. These kids only have one coat so it wasn’t possible to take them and bring them back later. Perhaps you and your friends can do something like this. If you don’t have school age kids or know where to start, I suggest contacting the Special Education teacher at your local elementary school. It’s the kids in special ed who tend to be the most economically disadvantaged. They also stick out; everyone sees who gets off the short bus.
If you make a donation, kindly send me a copy of your receipt if you’d like to take advantage of my unpublicized program to generously reward Coats for Kids supporters.