Need a coat to ward off the approaching winter chill?
For school-age children in Clarendon, it may be just a trip to the closet away.
This fall, the Clarendon Coat Closet is working to provide a chance to bundle up against the cold for free.
Times Observer photo by Jacob Perryman
Just a handful of the coats available through the Clarendon Coat Closet were on display on Wednesday.
Kay Jones and Jim Houghtling took time to talk about the outreach program, but stressed, they're only part of a committee of people who have worked to make the Coat Closet a reality.
"We are opening up our church and providing coats at no cost to the children of Clarendon," Houghtling said. "It's a new ministry for us and we're really excited."
He added that, although the Coat Closet is backed by Clarendon Trinity United Church and the coats are located there, Coats is an independent program open to all school-age children in Clarendon.
"It's an outreach into the community," Jones said.
Houghtling added, "There's a lot of enthusiasm behind it."
On Thursday, a line of hanging coats stretching across half a room was apparent in the basement of Trinity United and, according to Jones and Houghtling, only a fraction of the coats available were visible. The two noted the program has more coats stored and will be acquiring even more.
"We just believe if we can provide coats to our local school-age children, then that's what we want to do," Houghtling said. "If there's a need, we just want to fill it."
On Saturday, Oct. 13, Trinity United, located at 23 Main St. in Clarendon, will open its doors to children in need of some extra warmth this winter. From 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., the Closet will be officially open.
Although children can come to the Closet and look for a coat amongst the items still available on Oct. 13, Houghtling recommends taking advantage of the opportunity to call ahead. According to Houghtling, the Closet will be accepting calls to reserve coats until Friday, Sept. 28.
Calling ahead, according to a Clarendon Coat Closet brochure, will provide an opportunity to ensure a child's size is available and specify whether the coat is for a girl or a boy. The Closet will then set a coat aside to ensure it is available.
"It (calling) isn't necessary," Houghtling said. "If they come on the 13th, we have whatever we have, but we encourage them to call. That way we can serve them better."
He noted, if a pick-up can't be made on Oct. 13, there's still a chance to get a coat.
"If transportation is a problem, then we can make arrangements," Houghtling said.
Above all, Houghtling stressed the importance of calling whether someone in need of a coat can make it to the Closet or not.
To reserve a coat or make arrangements to get one, Houghtling and Jones said to call 723-5435 and leave a message including name, desired coat size and the sex of the child the coat is for.