For the eighth year in a row, Keely Weaver of State Farm Insurance in Pickerington is teaming up with Fairfield County Job and Family Services agency to sponsor a Winter Coat/Hat Collection Drive to assist those in need.
With the chill of winter fast approaching, Weaver and Jenny Ruff of Fairfield County JFS are seeking pretty much any type of winter outer wear as long as it falls under the moniker of "gently used."
Thus, gently used coats, hats, gloves, scarves and boots for children and adults are in great demand throughout Fairfield County as the less fortunate brace for the cold winter ahead.
"It's going to people who need these items. Usually we get really nice stuff. Some of it may be older and outdated, but it's cold out there and (those in need) want something nice to wear," said Debbie Monge, who works in Weaver's office and has participated in the drive for many years.
"Last year we collected over 1,000 coats," Monge said.
Starting Friday, Nov. 1 and running through Nov. 22, Pickerington area residents can deposit items in a collection bin on the front porch of Weaver's State Farm Insurance office at 194 W. Church St., on the corner of Church Street and Hill Road.
"We keep it out there 24/7," Monge said.
"Every morning when we get to work, there will be overflow," Monge said.
Ruff said Fairfield County JFS is "so grateful for (Weaver's) partnership."
She said the need for warm outerwear is perhaps more pressing this year than ever before.
"This winter is supposed to be very cold. We've been blessed with mild winters the last couple of years," said Ruff, adding "we also have a homeless population that are always looking for sleeping bags and tents.
"We put all of that to good use."
She said mittens, gloves and hats will all be placed on a Christmas tree in the lobby of the Fairfield JFS building.
"We have a sign on the tree that says 'please be kind and take what you need,' " Ruff said.
"We decorate the tree twice a day, everyday," she said.
The Fairfield County Sheriff's Office also gets involved, collecting all the items from Weaver's State Farm office in Pickerington at the end of the drive and transporting them to Fairfield JFS in Lancaster.
"The deputies are Santa Claus for a day," said Ruff.
She said she anticipates another big collection drive this season.
"People always want to do for others. It's really simple but it makes a big difference."
While Weaver's Pickerington coat/hat drive ends Nov. 22, Ruff said Fairfield JFS will also take donations up until Jan. 1, at its offices at 239 W. Main Street, Lancaster.
For more information, contact Job and Family Services at 740-652-7676.