As the air turns brisk, local organizations and a local business are teaming up to collect and distribute coats and outerwear for those in need. 

The coat drive will be from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Gene Moss Building, 913 E. Sevier St. in Benton. The coats will be distributed from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 29. 

Central Arkansas Development Council, Churches Joint Council on Human Needs and Arkansas Prosthetics and Pedorthics are working together to put on the events. 

"People always need coats," said Linda Jennings, a board member for both CADC and CJCOHN. 

She said Paul Johnston, of Arkansas Prosthetics and Pedorthics, first had the idea for the coat drive in 2005 when the area housed several Hurricane Katrina survivors. He worried that they didn't have warm coats. He reached out to Jennings to put on a drive. 

That first event not only provided enough coats for the survivors but others in need. The drive also opened their eyes to the need for warm winter items in the community. 

Jennings said for the drive, they need coats ranging from infant sizes to adult 2-3X. The drive is also collecting jackets, sweaters, mittens, hats and scarves. 

At the end of the school year, members of Junior Auxiliary of Saline County collected the items left behind in area school's lost and founds and washed them for the drive. The drive has already collected items through CJCOHN. 

During the event, tax receipts will be available. 

Jennings wants to encourage anyone in need of warm items to come to the distribution day. They only ask for people's names and how many are in their families so the organizers can keep up with how many coats they gave out in preparation for next year. 

"Anyone who is need of outerwear, we want them to be warm this winter," Jennings said. 

Jennings said they are grateful for Johnston. While he can't be there the day of the drive and distribution, she said he always takes the lead to organize meetings to prepare for it each year. She is also grateful for the city of Benton for letting them use the Gene Moss Building and the faithful volunteers who always help put the event on. 

She said Springhill Storage each year provides space to store coats for the event. 

Jennings said they can always use more volunteers. Anyone interested can contact her at 501-778-5910.

"This is a blessing for us to be able to do and a blessing for those in need of coats," Jennings said. 

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