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Coats for Kids makes winter warmer for central Indiana families

Thousands of children received new coats at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Saturday morning as part of WTHR's "Coats for Kids" program.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Thousands of children received new coats at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Saturday morning as part of WTHR's "Coats for Kids" program.

For 30 years, Coats for Kids has been providing free winter coats to children in need in central Indiana. WTHR joined forces with Tuchman Cleaners, the Salvation Army and Old National Bank to collect and pass out new or gently-used children's coats.

Families started lining up at the Blue Ribbon Pavilion early Saturday morning.

Carrie Rivers was shopping for the first time with her daughters, 3-year-old Mya and 1-year-old Aaliyah. Both girls chose purple coats and picked their own hats and gloves, small gifts that meant the world to this family.

"My husband is the only one in the house working, and he works really hard to try to provide for us, and it's just a blessing that we can get coats," Rivers said.


Salvation Army volunteer Caroline Kiser guided the family through the racks of more than 5,000 coats.

"Once, many, many, many years ago, I was a single mother and I can absolutely put myself in their position," Kiser said.

"There's still the need. There's still the kids who come in with a lot of enthusiasm and the parents who come in with that, 'I have to get this done before winter hits'," said WTHR reporter David MacAnally.

MacAnally has been volunteering since the event was born three decades ago.

"It's somebody's love for somebody that they don't even know, and that's very touching. Every year I think of that," MacAnally said.

A young man named Joshua McGinnis was so grateful for his new coat, he brought a card to say thank you.

"I want to say thank you for the coats, and the hats and the gloves. And for the 30 years of giving," McGinnis said.



  • On Saturday, approximately 2,500 children received a coat - about the same number as last year.
  • More than 200 volunteers were on hand to help families ‘shop’ for coats.
  • Monday morning, approximately 900 used/leftover coats were donated to school social workers and social services agencies.
  • Altogether, 3,400 coats were distributed.
  • Of the nearly 5,000 coats collected this year, more than 2,000 were brand new - purchased with cash donations from the Wolfe Family, Old National Bank, online donations, as well as people donating new coats.
  • Coats not distributed this year will be stored in the Salvation Army’s warehouse for next year.

You can always make a monetary donation by clicking here. Also, you can text GiveACoat to 41444, and that will bring up a donation form on your mobile device.