By Ron VandenBoom
The harsh winds of winter will have a little less bite for some this holiday season thanks to the efforts of the Havre Jaycees and local merchants like Corral West in Havre.
The reason is coats -- lots of coats -- more than 300 coats collected so far this year as part of the Jaycee's Koats For Kids program.
About 250 of the coats were collected by Corral West in Havre as part of this year's sales promotion and charity effort. The figure nearly doubles the number of coats Corral West collected last year as part of the campaign.
Lorie Rogers, manager of Corral West in Havre, said she became involved with the Jaycees program last year after first learning of the other organizations annual program.
Rogers, who moved to Havre from Washington several years ago, had been involved in similar projects in the past, but was unaware that Havre had such a program when she started her own project at Corral West. Rogers eventually learned of the Jaycees' Koats for Kids Program and agreed to join forces.
Corral West offered a 10 percent discount on any new coat in stock to anyone who brought in a used coat to donate to the program. The customer would also receive a ticket they could enter in a drawing for prizes for each coat they donated.
Winners received prizes donated by Bear Paw Credit Union, United Building Center, Gary and Leo's IGA, Retroworks, and Elite Tan and Styling Salon.
Pat Farrar of Chinook donated 49 coats to the project and won a $20 gift certificate from Gary and Leo's for her effort. Other winners were Burnie Inman, Teresa Larson, Twila Dyrland, and M.B. Sheppard.
Rae Ann Hanson, Jaycee chairperson for this year's event, said other drop-off centers in Havre are located at Big Kmart, Gary and Leo's IGA, Albertson's, Creative Leisure, the Hill County Courthouse, or at Havre Laundry.
The last day to donate a coat will be Dec. 16, when the coats will be picked up and taken to Havre Laundry for repair and cleaning before being given away during their Annual Christmas Spree on Sunday, Dec. 19.
The give-away will take place in the basement of the Havre Eagles Club from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will be open to anyone who needs a coat.
Any left-over coats not given away on Sunday will be turned over to other organizations to distribute to the needy.
"I just want to thank everyone that came out and donated this year," Rogers said, "because we did double the figure and that was exciting."
Rogers said she would like to see the number double again next year and that she appreciates the support the community showed this year.