By Stacie Rose
Daily News correspondent
Thus far, winter has been mild and it is a good thing due to the number of Montcalm County children lacking warm winter wear.
Evi Petersen of Great Start Collaborative and a group of parents recognized the need and joined forces with Terry King of the Ionia/Montcalm County Department of Human Services with the goal in mind to provide local youths in need with proper winter wear.
“What prompted this is we have a parent coalition and we meet once a month,” Petersen said. “When we drop our kids off at school and see kids who don’t have winter boots or a decent winter coat, we put our heads together to figure out how to get clothes to them.
“We’ve tried to have a box in every school district in the county and have one in a credit union in Edmore so people all around the county could drop off clothes,” Petersen said. “I have actually collected mostly coats but we are very much in need of snow boots and snowsuits.”
To receive donations of the much needed winter clothing, drop locations have been placed in multiple communities throughout Montcalm County. Flyers also have been posted and informational letters sent out.
Donations can be dropped off in boxes in the following local places:
• Montcalm Area Intermediate School District office in Stanton
• Department of Human Services (DHS) in Stanton
• Parts Plus in Carson City
• Leppinks in Howard City
• Parts Plus of Sheridan
• S-A-Y Graphics in Greenville
• Montcalm Public Employees Credit Union in Edmore
• Lakeview Community Church in Lakeview
“We send letters to child care providers and once a month the elementary school principals meet and we ask that if they have anyone in need to contact us,” she said.
This is the second year Petersen and King have collected winter wear for area children. This year’s effort has been more organized and has reaped an increase in the number of donations.
“I work in both Montcalm and Ionia counties at the DHS,” King said. “I have been providing coats, hats, mittens, scarves, etc., for several years now. Evi has seen the need, so it was a great fit for us to join our forces.
“Donations have grown as people have discovered our program,” he added. “I would say I have received over 300 coats, thus far.”
Gently used items need to be dropped off in cleaned condition and handmade items are gladly accepted, as well. All sizes through high school age are accepted but most requests are for sizes 3-12.
Evi Petersen is with Great Start Collaborative and can be reached at (616) 225-6146. Terry King is with the Department of Human Services of Ionia and Montcalm Counties and can be contacted at (989) 831-8400.