Koats for Kids

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Donald Freedlund and Ed Conklin have been involved with the Koats for Kids program since its birth 16 years ago, and the need for donations, they say, grows every year.

"The Rockford community opens up their hearts and their closets and are very generous in sharing some very fine coats with a lot of people who really need them," says volunteer Ed Conklin.

The men spent the day picking up coats from the 15 drop-off sites throughout Rockford. All of the coats are brought to the Salvation Army drop social services building where volunteers, like Seth Ekberg, are sorting and hanging the items.

"I like doing it because I'm fortunate and I like to help the less fortunate because it makes me feel good," says volunteer Seth Ekberg.

The goal this year is to collect 3000 coats. Social Services Director Michael Sjogren says the community has pulled together once again.

The many volunteers who span several generations have been working hand in hand to make the effort a success.

"The have the same enthusiasm that we do. They, too, recognize the need and in many cases they're a little bit closer to it than we are," says Conklin.
It kind of makes us feel older, that we're more mature to help these people out, and we're working with people who've done this for most of their lives," says Nick Zawislik.

A common goal that no one in our community should be left in the cold this winter.

On Monday, the Koats for Kids drop off boxes will be removed. You will still be able to drop off coats next week at the Salvation Army Social Services Building, 416 South Madison Street in Rockford. Coat distribution will begin on October 31.