Coat giveaway to those in need

By Beau Ebenezer

December 8, 2012 Updated Dec 10, 2012 at 11:44 AM CDT

PEORIA Ill -- Hundreds of local kids are going to stay warm this winter, thanks to the Salvation Army and the many who donated coats.

Salvation Army held its Coats for Kids Giveaway that goes beyond keeping kids warm this holiday season.

More than 1,500 coats are hanging on the racks at Peoria's Salvation Army just in time to find the rightful owners.

"The need is always greater each year. And we are definitely in need and we're getting enough coats that we are needing this year. A lot of families would not have coats. A lot of children would go without coats and I think everyone would get sicker. I mean, the coats really keep children warm," said Salvation Army Christmas Program Manager, Brandy Wright.

More than 700 coats were given out at the drive on Saturday.

Peoria resident Stacy Fisher says due to the tough economic times, her family would be lost without the help of the Salvation Army and those donating coats.

"Everyone is struggling anymore with the economy the way it is and a lot of people not working, myself one of them. So I know what it's like to need a helping hand and they're really good with it," said Fisher.

Another resident, Debber Irby, says she does a lot of walking in the cold with only a thin jacket, but that's all about to change.

"It's gonna help me a lot. It really is. It's a blessing to have something like this and it's a blessing they are getting out here giving it to people," said Irby.

This year, the event was moved to the Salvation Army's warehouse because of the big turnout from previous years.

The Salvation Army plans to hold another Coat drive in the coming weeks to help keep everyone warm in the cold winter.