Freedom group collects 438 coats for Coats for Kids

Their collection efforts in Freedom started with 36 coats in 2016.
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 6:37 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2022 at 9:25 AM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - The deadline to donate to the annual Coats for Kids campaign was late Thursday afternoon. Thousands of new or gently-used coats and countless winter accessories were collected during the four-week campaign.

One group of friends went all out this year and dropped off 438 coats at Fox Communities Credit Union in Appleton, one of the drop-off sites around the area.

Deadline day can sometimes be a little hectic, but one group from Freedom decided to make this winter a lot less stressful for children and less-fortunate families.

Tom Frieders, his partner, Sherry, and several others from Freedom got together seven years ago to see how they could help the community. Their effort donated 36 coats in 2016. Tom is a driver trainer in the Fox Valley Technical College Truck Driving program. FVTC donated the use of the truck that moved the coats from FVTC to the Coats for Kids collection site.

Fast-forward and Thursday’s total was almost 13 times that! Frieders is overwhelmed by the amount of generosity the community of Freedom continues to show.

”I’m just very impressed. Keep them warm. That’s what we ask of everybody we’re working with. We’ve all been cold, it’s not a great feeling, so we just want to keep them warm,” Frieders said.

One woman made a last-minute donation of four coats from her three daughters that they grew out of. Renae Sauter says her donation came out of love that others should enjoy being warm this winter.

“It’s so wonderful that somebody can use it more. I mean, really, the girls only got to wear them a couple months and they outgrew them. So, it’s really nice to know someone else can enjoy and be warm this winter.”

WBAY partnered with Woodward radio stations, the Salvation Army and other sponsors for the annual fall drive. We want to thank everyone who donated for their generosity. All of the donations will be cleaned by local dry cleaners and distributed by the Salvation Army.

If you couldn’t donate before the deadline, Nan Pahl from the Salvation Army says you can reach out to local schools, domestic abuse shelters, or churches to see if they could use donated coats.

Late Thursday afternoon was the deadline to donate new or gently used coats and winter accessories