Annual coat drive set to warm hundreds of children

<p>A coat you or your child no longer wears could be donated to help keep a child warm this winter.</p>
<p>United Way of Johnson County is kicking off the donation drive for Operation Bundle Up. Operation Bundle Up is an annual helping program that gives coats and other winter gear to needy families in the county. </p>
<p>Families in Johnson County who need a coat for their child can attend the event and shop the coats that are available.</p>
<p>United Way of Johnson County will begin collecting new or gently used coats next week through Oct. 23.</p>
<p>Volunteers will then sort through the coats and Milto Cleaners will clean the supplies.</p>
<p>Hundreds of coats are distributed annually as part of the program. Last year, the agency served 180 families at the event, which included 449 children, said Nancy Lohr Plake, executive director of the United Way of Johnson County.</p>
<p>In past years, nearly 1,000 coats have been given out to local children and families who need them. In 2017, 1,584 coats were collected. About 12,000 coats have been given to children in the past decade.</p>
<p>United Way is setting up donation sites at the agency in Franklin and at Milto Cleaners and Horizon Bank branches in Johnson County.</p>
<p>New and gently used coats are accepted, although winter gear such as hats, scarves and gloves should be new. In general, the agency does not get a lot of donations for coats that teens can wear, Lohr Plake said.</p>
<p>Donations for older children who wear sizes 10 to 16 are a special need, as well as more stylish coats for teenagers, she said.  Donated coats that are not given out at the event are donated to local churches who distribute the coats.</p>[sc:pullout-title pullout-title="At a glance" ][sc:pullout-text-begin]<p>United Way of Johnson County is kicking off collections for Operation Bundle Up.</p>
<p>What is needed: New and gently used coats and new winter accessories.</p>
<p>Where to take the items: Horizon Bank branches and Milto Cleaners across the county. Donations will also be accepted at the United Way of Johnson County office, 594 Ironwood Drive, Franklin.</p>
<p>Timeline: Drop off donations now through Oct. 23.</p>[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title="If you go" ][sc:pullout-text-begin]<p>What: Coat distribution for Operation Bundle Up</p>
<p>When: 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 7</p>
<p>Where: Turning Point Church, 3600 N. Morton St., Franklin.</p>
<p>Cost: Free</p>
<p>Residents seeking a coat must bring identification and proof of Johnson County residency.</p>[sc:pullout-text-end]