For more than 20 years, they have had a simple, but important mission, to keep local youth warm throughout the winter.
This year, members of the Coats for Kids committee in Litchfield, along with about 70 volunteer shoppers made that possible for 169 youth in the Litchfield School District.
Students at Tri-County Beauty Academy in Litchfield helped the committee to shop for the 46 littlest recipients, on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Walmart in Litchfield.
Committee members hosted their annual shopping day on Saturday, Nov. 2, with about 70 volunteer shoppers helping to find warm coats and other clothing for 113 older children and ten special needs children.
After the shopping, volunteers met back at The Underground in Litchfield to help pack the garments and for a lasagna luncheon.
The youngsters in this year's program were treated to a special party later in the day with games and pizza. This year's Litchfield Chamber of Commerce royalty helped with both the shopping day in the morning and volunteered at the party.
On Sunday, Nov. 3, Shoe Sensation in Litchfield opened its doors early, and provided a discount to the committee to make sure that each child got a brand new pair of shoes as well.
In addition, Terry Plummer of Plummer Funeral Home in Litchfield once again provided a bottle of laundry detergent for each child.Committee members include Matt and Audrey Vaughn, Sharon Schwab, Shirley Laird and Linda Grammer, many of whom helped to start the program all those years ago. They are grateful for the financial support of the community, as well as the volunteers who help with the shopping and the packing.
It's the second year in a row that Litchfield resident Elizabeth Clark has volunteered her time.
"As an educator, I directly see the need for warm garments during the cooler months," she said. "I am passionate about this program because it helps fulfill needs for children. I have enjoyed shopping for children the past two years. This year, I was excited to help assemble the bags for children that were filled with new outfits, warm coats, and detergent. We are blessed to have a caring, giving community."
The Coats for Kids committee works throughout the year collecting donations for their mission, and it takes around $16,000 to purchase warm clothing for all the kids. Donations may be sent to Coats for Kids, P.O. Box 157, Litchfield, IL 62056.