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Annual coat drive continues to make a difference in Brooke County

An annual coat drive, spanning nearly 2 decades, continues to make a difference in Brooke County.

An annual coat drive, spanning nearly 2 decades, continues to make a difference in Brooke County.

"It’s something that you can't imagine because we take it for granted that we go into our closet and pick out a warm coat,” coat drive co-chairman Paul Billiard said. “These kids put on a coat and ask if it’s theirs to keep.”

It’s a life-changing project.

"I definitely get to see how much our community is suffering," Lions Club member Robert Morris said.

They distributed 75 coats their first year.

"This year we are going to distribute 620 coats to the kids in Brooke County Schools," Billiard said.

The coat cause is exploding, filling an old car dealership with brand new clothing for these kids to keep warm.

So how is it done?

"I’ll start fundraising in January and take donations,” Billiard said. “We still need donations, and in February, we have a night at the races, which is a large portion of what we buy."

They’ll pick up everything from hats, to gloves, and of course, the perfect jacket, from baby sizes to 12th grade seniors, mostly from Boscov’s in St. Clairsville.

"We will spend somewhere in the vicinity of $16,000 this year all new coats to the kids new gloves and hats to each kid," Billiard said.

"This is just an excellent way to actually show how the people in our area care and can come together to help out these people," Morris said.

The answer to why they do it is simple.

"How do you slight all the kids that need something?" Billiard asked.

They coats will be distributed beginning Friday.

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