Warm Coats for Kids Drive in Wilkes-Barre

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — “It’s just the season to give, and this is what we wanna do,” Ross Piazza, Co-chairman of the Back Mountain Police Association Warm Coats for Kids Program, said.

As the winter turns colder, kids in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program are ready to bundle up. The Back Mountain Police Association, along with Big Brothers Big Sisters and St. Aloysius , held the Warm Coats for Kids Drive.

“We put 20 different containers out, plus we have help from the schools, like Dallas and Lehman schools have contributed. And we have individuals that drop things off,” Piazza said.

“Especially living in Northeastern Pennsylvania I just think it’s wonderful that they go out to the community and the whole community as a whole participates in helping to ensure that every kid does not go without their needs,” Laurie Neal, a mother of a child participating in the event, said.

This is the 10th year the Back Mountain Police Association has held the warm coat drive. Piazza says each year they’ve received about 500 coats.

And the coats were just the beginning. The kids dined on pizza and desserts… And even got to meet Old Saint Nick. Santa even handed out gifts.
Afterwards, they had the opportunity to pick out their own warm weather clothing. Piazza says people don’t realize how great the need really is until they see it with their own eyes.

“One time I delivered some coats to a school a year ago and they said ‘you know you’re on time because we have a girl that came in wearing a t-shirt today’ and it was 10 degrees,” Piazza said.

This is Laurie Neal’s second year participating in the warm coats for kids program.

“I’m a single mother of nine children, and it’s hard especially this time of year with Christmas and heating bills and feeding kids. It’s hard to you know come up with things they need and the things that they want,” Neal said.

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