The early cold snap now enveloping the area has resulted in increased needs at the Catholic Charities Helping Center in Sallisaw. MaryLynn Lufkin, center coordinator, said the cold snap is draining the center's supplies. She said the center is handing out 100 coats a day, and is helping, on average, 40 to 50 families a day. The needs are depleting the center's supply of coats for all ages, blankets and electric space heaters.
Marley Abell of the Sallisaw Lions Club said the club is trying to assist with the need through the Coats for Kids program. Abell explained that Dr. Amanda Trudeau of Sallisaw is in charge of the Sallisaw Lion's Club eyeglass program and has found different funding sources for that program. As a result the Lion's Club has about $2,500 that members decided to dedicate to the Coats for Kids program. Abell said the club is challenging the community to match the club's donation. Donations for Coats for Kids can be dropped off at any Firstar Bank, in Sallisaw, Roland and Fort Smith. Abell said the club will also donate $500 to Liberty Elementary School and Eastside Elementary School in Sallisaw. He explained that often teachers take money from their own pockets to buy necessities for their students. With the $500 donation-$500 to each school-the teachers will be able to open a fund to help children who may need a coat or other items. If the community can match the Lion's Club challenge, then $5,000 in total will be donated to help purchase Coats for Kids, Abell said.
Lufkin's Keep the County Warm program is seeking all sizes of new and gently worn coats. She said she has raided her husband's and son's closets, and her friends' closets too. Now she asks that all residents raid their own closets to provide a coat for someone who may not have one. Blankets and quilts are also sorely needed, she said. The center is also providing electric space heaters to those who might be too cold. The center is asking for donations of new electric heaters.
Donated items may be dropped off between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the back door of the Helping Center, at 409 N. Adams in Sallisaw. The phone number is 918-775-6111.
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