Imagine going through the winter season without a coat, hat or gloves. That's the reality for some families in need who move to South Dakota. They're among the thousands of people the Salvation Army is looking to help with a yearly clothing drive. The charity is teaming up with KDLT again to spread the warmth this winter.
Anyone who's experienced a South Dakota winter knows the importance of winter clothing. But, the value of those items may be something we take for granted. Some families can't afford to keep their loved ones properly clothed during the colder months.
“Winters here in South Dakota are bitter. The wind howls, it's rough. It's cold. We see a rising need,” says Salvation Army Sioux Falls Major Thomas Riggs.
Salvation Army workers say a lot of that need comes from families who've immigrated to the area from countries like Kenya, Sudan and Somalia. They're not used to the colder climate and often move to the area without the necessary items to stay warm-- items they've never had to own.
“They don't have anything and they get hit by these hard winters,” Riggs explains.
That's why the Salvation Army is collecting coats, snow pants, hats, mittens and gloves to give away for free at its Cliff Avenue location. This year, there's a significant goal.
"We actually need about 10,000 coats. There are that many people here in Sioux Falls who need assistance with winter clothing,” says Riggs.
The nonprofit hopes to gather that amount from now till December 11 as part of its Coats For All drive with KDLT. 10,000 sounds like a big number, but employees say donations will go fast to families who need them most, clearing out the racks by the time winter takes hold.
If you're interested in donating, the Salvation Army says its biggest needs are snow pants in adults' and kids' sizes and children's winter coats.
To donate, you can drop off items at the Salvation Army at 800 North Cliff Avenue in Sioux Falls, KDLT at 3600 S. Westport Avenue in Sioux Falls, or any Billion Automotive location. For more information, you can call the Salvation Army at (605)338-6649.