WATERTOWN — The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a brutal winter this year. But even a mild Wisconsin winter is hard to weather without the proper clothing.

If you’re a child, chances are your elementary school doesn’t even allow you to utilize the playground in the snowy months without a full winter outfit.

And what youngsters want to stand shivering against the side of the school when they could be playing in the snow with their friends?

To assist children in this situation, Koats for Kids is making winter playtime possible and fun with its annual coat collection.

For decades, the local Koats for Kids campaign, coordinated by the Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin in conjunction with Lake Mills Cleaners, has collected gently used coats to help children from throughout the area whose families right not otherwise be able to supply them with adequate outdoor wear.

The CAC and Lake Mills Cleaners are partnering to collect and clean gently used winter coats to distribute to families in need.

Also needed are winter accessories like hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and boots.

Donations to the annual Koats for Kids program may be dropped off from now through Nov. 8, at any of the following locations:

Lake Mills, Lake Mills Cleaners office, 804 N. Main St.; Watertown, the Community Action Coalition office, 114 E. Main St.; Cambridge, Cambridge Ace Hardware, 200 Commerce Road; Fort Atkinson, Goyer Ace Hardware, 10 Madison Ave.; Waterloo, Neitzel’s Do It Best, 305 W. Madison St.; Jefferson, Casey’s General Store, 507 S. Main St.; and Johnson Creek, Mitlin’s Corner, 403 South St.

Distribution will take place at the CAC’s Jefferson County location in Watertown at 114 E. Main St. on Nov. 25-27.

Jeannette Petts, program leader for the CAC’s Watertown and Waukesha offices, said that the Jefferson County drive usually provides about 350 coats, plus hundreds of pieces of winter gear, including hats, mittens, scarves and boots.

Though the official distribution takes place for just three days in November, the CAC keeps several racks of coats in its lobby through April so that it can continue to meet the needs of local residents who do not have winter attire.

“Lake Mills Cleaners has sponsored Koats for Kids for many years,” Petts said. “The CAC is very thankful for their continued support and participation.”

For more information, people may call the CAC’s Watertown office at (920) 262-9667.

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