Group aims to help community during pandemic

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JACKSON TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The chill in the air has many of us reaching for our winter coats.

Sadly, many local families struggle to provide a warm coat for their children. A grassroots Facebook group is trying to solve that problem for hundreds of kids.

Piles of children’s winter coats fill Kim Kotyk’s living room but they’re not for the two children she and her husband David are raising.

“As you can see around us right now it gets a little cluttered at times but it’s all for the greater good of the community,” said Kim Kotyk, Founder, Luzerne County COVID-19 Neighbor Assistance.

The coats fit toddler to teens.

“We had a member donate a bunch of gloves and hats,” said Kotyk.

They will be given to children of Luzerne County families in need thanks to the group Luzerne County COVID-19 Neighbor Assistance which Kotyk founded to help with things like food and financial assistance early in the pandemic. But she shifted to coats after calling Salvation Army Wilkes-Barre Corps Officer Lt. Irseris-Agosto Santos.

“So she proceeded to tell me she had about 750 children that needed coats and I told her I think my group can help you,” said Kotyk.

Kotyk reached out through social media to jump start the effort.

“I posted the request on the group page and in one week we had 150 coats donated. I mean I was hoping to get maybe 50 so it really kind of blew me away the response of the group,” said Kotyk.

Cash donations have been critical to the cause. One is a very generous one: $200 from the Confraternity of Christian Women from Holy Family Church in Sugar Notch.

Kotyk has found ways to stretch those donations using incentives like in-store coupons, even reaching out to an auction company.

“And they gave us coats for $5 apiece based on the cause of the group. We pretty much brought everything there,” said Kotyk.

Her husband helped organize and collect the first batch of coats hoping in weeks to come collect 800.

“I don’t think there’s a greater good than helping a child who just needs a warm coat,” said David Kotyk, Kim’s husband.

As the Kotyks helped carry in the first batch of coats to the Salvation Army Citadel, they were greeted with gratitude.

“It was amazing that she did that for us and we really appreciate that. I know the kids will too,” said Lt. Irseris Santos.

For the Facebook group Luzerne County COVID-19 Neighbor Assistance, click here.

For the Salvation Army Wilkes-Barre, click here.

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