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Local nonprofits collect donations to help families in need brace for winter

Sierra Rains
srains@ardmoreite.com
Socks and underwear collected during Heroes with Hope's 2019 drive.

Area nonprofits are now collecting donations to help families in need prepare for winter weather. 

Heroes with Hope of Southern Oklahoma began preparing for the colder months a few months back by collecting coats, socks, underwear, gloves, hats and scarves for children — an annual tradition for the organization. 

Other local organizations like It’s From the Heart in Lone Grove also take in donations of clothes, household items and furniture to give to those in need, with children as a priority. The cost of home heating can be a heavy burden on low-income families and It’s From the Heart is currently seeking donations of space heaters to help families stay warm amid dropping temperatures. 

Heroes with Hope Executive Director Melissa Woolly said her organization has received a plethora of winter coats for children in Pre-K through high school, but the nonprofit is running low on socks and underwear, and could use more hats and gloves, as well. 

“We have a storage room that’s just full of coats,” Woolly said. “When it comes to socks and underwear, we’re asking for new packaged socks and underwear for kids. We’re running low on those two things.”

Woolly said they need sizes for all age groups, but especially for children in Pre-K, first grade, second grade and of middle school age. The Heroes with Hope organization works closely with local schools to distribute the items to children who are in need, and will also collaborate with police to have the items handed out. 

“Anytime our officers come in contact with kids that they see need any of these items, they will contact me and I immediately go and make sure they have what they need,” Woolly said. “And then, most commonly, we go through the schools. The school systems contact me and that’s our primary way.” 

Many people weren’t expecting colder weather to come on this quickly, Woolly said. Expenses for coats, socks and underwear can add up just as quickly, especially for families with multiple children. These items are also swiftly outgrown. 

“Most certainly with the weather that we’re having, we don’t want any child to be going without winter clothes,” Woolly said. “If you think about the cost of coats in general, they’re an expensive item and if they lose one, that’s something that you just can’t replace very easily.” 

Children who have more unstable home lives and may be spending night after night in a different place are more likely to lose items like coats and socks. By providing families with these items, Woolly said she hopes it is one less burden on them. 

“So maybe they’re not having to worry about those things while they should be focusing on their education at school or other things,” Woolly said. Individuals can donate by contacting Heroes with Hope at (580) 319-8571 or heroeswithhope@outlook.com. 

“We just think it’s important to take care of the kids,” Woolly said. “Our primary focus is the children because all too often kids are just victims of different circumstances and so we really make kids our priority. We just want to make sure the kids within our community are taken care of because they are our future.”

It’s From the Heart, located at 15125 Highway 70 in Lone Grove, is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for anyone needing warm clothing. 

Donations of heaters can be dropped off during business hours and monetary donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 1891 Lone Grove 73443 or sent by PayPal to Itsfromtheheart@hotmail.com. 

As of Tuesday, the organization has raised $30 to purchase heaters for those in need. To find out more information, contact It’s From the Heart at (580) 657-2531.