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Tips for Holding a Coat Drive

Tips for Holding a Coat Drive

Giving the gift of warmth

by Kristen Martin

The past few winters have broken records for cold temperatures, snow, ice, and wind-chill. With the cold weather, we pull out warm sweaters, gloves, hats, scarves, and coats. Since children grow every year, they need new warm clothes every year. For some families, the expense of providing these necessary protective barriers is impossible. It is up to us to help the children in our community. The four steps in our guide will teach you how to start a coat drive the right way. With friends, you can brainstorm new, creative idea that best fit your community.

Select a Beneficiary

From the beginning, you’ll want to communicate with your nonprofit about their needs and what they can accept. If your first choice can’t distribute the coats, be willing to either switch to something they need or ask if there’s another organization they know in need of a coat drive. Plan with your organization to find the best time and way to deliver the clothing. If you want to have donation bins somewhere in the community, get approval before you start.

Alternatively, consider donating to Operation Warm, which provides new coats for children through community organizations. “For each $20 that is donated, a child in the community gets the opportunity to choose a new coat in his or her favorite color and style.” You give warmth as well as self-esteem and acceptance.
One Warm Coat is another organization that can help you plan and hold your coat drive. They have plenty of creative ideas, materials to help promote, and tools to find local beneficiaries.


For a successful donation drive, your community has to be aware of it. Get the word out with posters and social media. If your bins are going to be in public places, decorate them in attention-grabbing ways aimed at your community. Don’t be afraid to notify your local media and send a press release.

Host the Drive

You’ll want boxes big enough for these bulky coats. You can get boxes from moving companies or stores that sell large products. Make sure your donations collections are where people will be. You can set up donation bins in specific places over a long period of time, or you can have volunteers encourage donations at a specific location on a specific day. If you opt for a single day, it’s especially important that you accept cash or credit donations for those who decide to donate on the spot. You’ll want to have enough volunteers to work in shifts.

If possible, extend your coat drive to a winter clothing drive. According to a recent study, we may be more likely to get the common cold when we’re breathing in cold air, so balaclavas, facemasks, and scarves worn up over the nose could be important in keeping us healthy.

Sort and Count

After the collection is over, you’ll want to count and sort the donations according to the needs of the organization who will receive them. You may encounter coats that are much more than gently used. In these cases, companies like Goodwill can still accept the donation and recycle the fabric if it’s not able to be sold.

Example Coat Drive Ideas

  • Hold a drive at an event like a holiday party, football game, or service project.
  • Host a winter dance that charges monetary donations or winter clothing donations for entrance.
  • Businesses can offer discounts in exchange for a coat donation.
  • Branches or departments of a business can compete for a casual day or force a departmental boss to wear something ridiculous.
  • Hold competing coat drives at rival schools or school districts—winners get a party or a pie to the face of an administrator.
  • Coordinate with the manager at a department store that sells clothing to host the drive right outside.
  • Host a concert and charge admission in clothing donations.
  • Enlist the support of a local radio personality to mention the drive and participate.

Champions for Kids staff preparing to deliver coats.

We really enjoyed our coat drive last year. We’d love to hear how your drive goes! Share your story with us and we may feature it for others to see.

Summer Can Be Scary: Why Kids Need Support After School

Summer Can Be Scary: Why Kids Need Support After School

Guest bloggers: Anthony Stevens & Aaron Weatherford

When the school lets out for summer, children go their separate ways to enjoy the time off, going on vacations and other adventures. These are Stevens_1times of fun and freedom, but for some kids, summer is actually a season of huge risks and developmental regression. When children are present for school, and seen throughout the week, they interact with the school’s staff, and get the nutritious foods that they need to stay on task. Summer time presents a gap in those needed actions.

Time away from school can mean no food, no fun, no social development, and academic devastation. In fact, authors from the National Summer Learning Association state that “…summertime presents a clear case where the growth in the achievement gap is the direct result of a gap in resources, choices and opportunities.” Over the summer students have large needs, specifically food, attention, social stimulus, and activities, all of which form the connected puzzle of healthy living for a child. Nutrition plays the largest role in the puzzle, as a kind of link from one need to the other, and how to maintain the energy to meet these needs. When kids go without nutrition, development in vision, fine motor skills, language skills and personal-social skills take a hard hit.

Millions of students rely on schools for food. In fact, over 20 million kids receive free or reduced lunches in school each day. So, when school is not in session, they go without.

Weatherford_1How can parents and families combat this problem? Here at Champions for Kids, we want to encourage families and communities to help kids stay summer strong by doing a service project to provide essential items for kids this summer. Tell us about your service project, and you could win up to $10,000 for a school or youth-based organization of your choice! Click here to get started 

What about you? Have ideas on how to help kids get the nutritional and academic support they need over the summer?


Hunger: The Ever-Present Challenge

Hunger: The Ever-Present Challenge

Hunger is an ever-present challenge for many families across America, and Champions for Kids, Kraft Foods, Tyson Foods and Sam’s Club have teamed up to fight food insecurity.

On May 20, 2015, Champions for Kids and Kraft Foods donated a truckload of CAPRI SUN to the St. Louis Area Foodbank as part of “Be A Hunger Hero” campaign.

The St. Louis Area Foodbank serves 26 counties in Missouri and Illinois, and distributes nearly 35 million pounds of food and personal care items annually. More than 392,000 people in the bi-state region rely on the Foodbank for assistance each year.


What about you? Is there a food bank in your area that you’d like to help? If so, see how you can take part in our Summer Strong program and win up to $10,000 for a school or youth-based nonprofit of your choice!  

When Summer Isn’t Fun: Keeping Kids ‘Summer Strong’ with SIMPLE Service

When Summer Isn’t Fun: Keeping Kids ‘Summer Strong’ with SIMPLE Service

Keeping Kids ‘Summer Strong’ with SIMPLE Service

You probably remember what summer was like as a kid–warm days at the pool, picnics in the park or watching Spongebob practically nonstop. For kids who rely on free school lunches, however, summer can be a time of uncertainty. Kids from unstable homes, or environments of abuse, must endure (not enjoy) the summer.

At Champions for Kids, we want to provide essentials to kids and families so they can be strong during the summer. Our home is Northwest Arkansas, and we believe supporting each other starts locally. One local organization Champions for Kids is proud to support is the Child Advocacy Center of Benton County (CAC). They provide a safe environment to serve abused children and their families–free of charge! To achieve this mission, they need the help of the community. They need everything from clothing, snacks and soap to games and art supplies to achieve their mission. That’s where we (and you) can step in to help.

This Saturday, May 16th, Champions for Kids be collecting items at Pinnacle Hills Promenade, in Rogers, AR, to benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County (CAC). This Saturday project serves as a kick-off to our Summer Strong SIMPLE Service initiative. From May 15th to June 30th, you can tell us about ways in which you are helping kids in your community. By sharing that story, you have the chance to win part of $50,000 for an organization of your choice

It can be a project like this one, or you may be inspired to help out in other ways! It’s our way of bolstering the efforts that your town, school, or organization is already putting forth. It’s all in the name of making sure that every child is “Summer Strong.”

So come join us on this Saturday, or tell us how you’re making a difference. After all, shouldn’t every kid be able to have golden summer memories?


10 Simple Ways Kids Can Volunteer Infograph

10 Simple Ways Kids Can Volunteer Infograph

Volunteering Ideas for Kids of All Ages

If you’re looking for ways your family or kids could give back in your community, check this infograph! Showing and teaching kids how to volunteer in their local communities is a great way to help them learn new skills while learning about life’s diversity. Of course, each suggestion can be tailored to match your child’s age & level, or could be used as a family activity.

Read More Read More

Feeding Kids in Middle Tennessee

Feeding Kids in Middle Tennessee

Food Bank Receives Tyson Foods Donations as Part of Hunger Heroes Campaign

Each week, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee serves more than 6,700 hungry children at more than 100 schools throughout Tennessee. That means, every year, they feed enough kids to fill the Tennessee Titans stadium more than five times. 

As a part of the 2014 Hunger Heroes campaign, Champions for Kids partnered with Tyson Foods to bring 30,000 pounds of chicken to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.
As a part of the 2014 Hunger Heroes campaign, Champions for Kids partnered with Tyson Foods to bring 30,000 pounds of chicken to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.


This feat (because it is truly a feat) takes a community effort, which is why the food bank works with more than 450 partner agencies in a service area covering 46 counties. Last year, their 19 truck fleet covered 533,374 miles rescuing and delivering food to those agencies. That’s enough miles to travel around the earth over 21.4 times.

As a part of the 2014 Hunger Heroes campaign, Champions for Kids partnered with Tyson Foods to bring 30,000 pounds of chicken to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.

On February 24, 2015, staff members from Champions for Kids, Tyson Foods and Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee gathered together as a Tyson Foods truck pulled up to deliver pounds upon pounds of food to help fight hunger. Tyson Foods has donated over 100 million pounds of protein since 2000, and continues to serve as a champion against hunger in the USA.

Working with these organizations is truly a privilege, because it means coming together to acknowledge and stand against deeply harrowing, often crippling challenges like food insecurity.

Yes, Champions for Kids has the goal of helping 20 million kids by 2020, but our organization does not exist in a vacuum. Only through deliberate collaboration and a shared value of bettering communities can organizations, schools and individuals make a difference.

What do you think? Do you agree/disagree? Let us know in the comments! 

Champions for Kids Awards $11,000 for Stocking Stuffer Challenge

Champions for Kids Awards $11,000 for Stocking Stuffer Challenge

Stocking Stuffer Challenge Brings Resources to Kids

For many, Christmas stockings are filled with fun (sometimes delicious) small gifts. Many kids however, especially those in foster care or insecure living situations, don’t even have a stocking to call their own.

In December 2014, Coca-Cola and Champions for Kids issued a challenge to Arkansas schools and youth-based organizations: fill Christmas stockings with essential items for children. Eleven schools or organizations with the most donated stockings received a $1,000 to help kids.

When Champions for Kids called the winners, the reactions and excitement was contagious. Check it out!

Congratulations to the following schools and non-profits:
Heber Springs High School | Root Elementary School | Prism Education Center | Northwest Arkansas Branch of the NAACP | Arkadelphia School District | R.E. Baker Elementary | Southside School District | First Methodist Church Food Pantry | NWA Chapter Youth M.O.V.E | Apple Seeds, Inc. | Peace at Home

Fighting Hunger by the Truckload

Fighting Hunger by the Truckload

Have you ever wondered what 30,000 lbs of chicken looks like? Probably not. As part of the Hunger Heroes campaign in 2014, Tyson Foods partnered with us to donated product to food banks in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.

Donating 30,000 lbs of protein to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC
Donating 30,000 lbs of protein to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC

On Feb. 10, 2015, staff members from Champions for Kids and Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC got to see what truckloads (literally!) of donated protein looked like.

The Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC fights daily to meet the challenges of hunger in its community. In fact:

  • 1 in 6 people living in Northwest North Carolina turn to Second Harvest Food Bank’s network for food assistance.
  • 32 percent of those who receive food assistance through Second Harvest Food Bank’s network of partner food assistance programs are children under the age of 18…(read more here)

Being chronically hungry can have disastrous affects on childhood development, education, community development and more.

This is what 30,000 lbs of chicken looks like.
This is what 30,000 lbs of chicken looks like.

By joining organizations likeTyson Foods (which has donated over 100 million lbs of protein since 2000, by the way), Second Harvest Food Bank, and schools, we stand a real chance in putting a dent on food insecurity. This community effort and ownership of the issue means making a real difference, one truckload at a time.

What do you think? What kind of collaboration would you like to see in your community to fight hunger?

How Hunger Is an Educational Barrier

How Hunger Is an Educational Barrier


“You can’t teach a hungry child!”

How Hunger Is an Educational Barrier

Jamie* seems like a typical eight grade student, but carries around an unseen barrier. It starts in her Monday morning algebra class, when her stomach tightens with pangs to remind her she hasn’t eaten since the previous Friday. Fighting a slow burning sensation, she tries to focus on linear equations before heading to biology, where her stomach pangs become nauseating cramps.

Jamie’s barrier to education—hunger—is something millions of kids struggle with, and what educators battle daily.  If a child is hungry, focusing on anything becomes an uphill battle both for the child and teacher. How can a child engage in classroom discussion, focus on homework or recall information without nutritional support?

The Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation, a non-profit organization established to support the needs of the Clarksville Montgomery County School system, is a firm believer in the saying “You can’t teach a hungry child!”

Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation exists to support the improvement of public education by providing the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System additional funding for the support of programs and initiatives that contribute to student achievement.

The organization plans to support their district’s 100% Graduation Program with the donation of snacks received through the Champions for Kids and the Walmart partnership. Many districts, including theirs, has a backpack program that helps send home snacks with students who may not have food over the weekend.

In addition to providing snacks for elementary and middle schools, the program also provides meals for high school students attending the organization’s Virtual High School program. Unlike a traditional school, the Virtual High School has no cafeteria.

“Some life circumstance out of their control may have brought them to the Virtual high,” says Candy Johnson, who works with the Clarksville Montgomery County schools. “But as a community we can still ensure that while they are in our care, they can have a snack to help them fully focus and achieve 100% Graduation in our district!”

What are your thoughts on hunger barriers in education? Share your own story, spread the word or find out how you can get involved in your community!

*Name changed 

Champions for Kids Announces SIMPLE Service Winners

Champions for Kids Announces SIMPLE Service Winners

This summer, Champions for Kids launched another SIMPLE Service campaign, this time partnering with Elmer’s to support community champions who work tirelessly to bring education, food, clothing and other essential items to local children. Check out the three winners from this SIMPLE Service campaign and join us in congratulating them on their incredible services!

1st place: Faith Moving Mountains
It’s not every day that school supplies fill a principal’s office, but students from Elm Grove Middle School, La., are not your everyday kids. Students were issued a challenge: they had two days to collect and fill the principal’s office with school supplies. By the second day, the principal’s office was so full that the door barely shut. Supplies were donated to Faith Moving Mountains, a local non-profit organization that distributes school uniforms and supplies to 400 children in need.

The Read2Learn SIMPLE Service project impacted 196 second graders across eight campuses
The Read2Learn SIMPLE Service project impacted 196 second graders across eight campuses

2nd place: Read 2 Learn
For many children, struggling to read is an insecurity which damages self-confidence. January Jones, educator in Wichita Falls, Texas, decided to go to bat for students by establishing the Read2Learn Program in her school’s district. After one year, 350 Read2Learn volunteers, spread across eight campuses, invested 3,880 volunteer hours helping 196 second grade students. By the end of the school year, 90% of those students were reading on grade level.

3rd Place: Fiesta Feed Families
Every Thursday evening, people in the Clendenin community of West Virginia gather together for a single goal: pack 100 bags filled with six, easy-to-prepare meals and snacks, for children in their local area. What drives this kind of dedication is a passion to relieve hunger for students who rely on school meals. In addition to providing boxes of food during holiday breaks and free books to students on reading level, this group has also started a reading program in their community.

Have you done a service project in your community? Tell us about it or see how you can join our upcoming SIMPLE Service campaign!