North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Local unions help provide coats for kids

 

Courtesy Photo

Members of the Local 3219 Firefighters Union with students from Liberty Elementary on Nov. 9 after the students were given coats as part of the union's Coats for Kids drive.

The Marysville Police Officers Association will run their second annual coat drive on Nov. 18 and 19 while another local union from the Marysville Fire District finished their own coat drive this November as well.

Police Officers Coat Drive

Marysville police officers will be collecting coats and cold-weather clothing on Nov. 18, at Fred Meyer, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Marysville Walmart.

This is the second year they will be out collecting. Last year they gathered around 300 coats and hundreds of hats and gloves as well.

"We hope to at least match last year, although I hope to do a couple hundred more coats," said Chris Jones, a Marysville police officer and the secretary of the Marysville Police Officers Association.

Jones said more organizations are involved this year that are helping to get the word out.

They are also collecting at two stores instead of one. Last year the Walmart was running out of coats by the end of the drive, he said.

Jones said that the drive is a good way for officers to be involved in the community.

"We try to look at where there's a need and not just a want, and we know there's a lot of need for basic necessities for some families," he said.

"We feel like this is a great way to give back to them," he said.

The coats collected by the police officers are given out at the Marysville Toy Store, which provides toys and other items to low-income families in December during the holidays.

"Being a part of the toy store we were able to meet, not so much the kids, but many of the parents there and the community," he said.

Jones hopes that the coat drive also helps local residents see the police as part of the community as well.

"We work hard at our job, but we also want to work hard in the community," he said.

Coats for Kids

Local 3219, the Marysville Fire District's firefighter union, has participated in Coats for Kids for the last four years and handed out their coats on Nov. 9 this year.

This year 93 kids from five first-grade classes from Liberty Elementary received coats as part of the program.

The coat drive, which many firefighter unions participate in, started on the east coast but has come to Washington in recent years.

File Photo

Marysville police officer Chris Jones is at the Grove Church on Nov. 30, 2015 where the Marysville Police Officers Association stored coats, hats and gloves collected during last year's coat drive.

The idea "stuck with the local firefighter community. It's one of those ways that we can give back to the community," said Jason Tucker, president of the local 3219 union.

Local firefighters collect donations as part of the drive and allocate some of their own funds as well. Afterward they go out to local schools to collect measurements and go out to buy coats for the kids, said Tucker.

"We love the aspect of giving back to these kids and helping them," he said.

They try and target lower-income schools such as Tulalip Elementary, Shoultes Elementary and Liberty Elementary, he said, and kids have the option to opt-out if they already have a suitable coat.

"I think it's important for those parents that don't have adequate resources," said Tucker.

"I've seen kids that show up on a winter day and don't have a coat or just have a worn-down hand-me-down coat," he said.

 

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