Kiwanis Coats for kids much more than its name

The Kiwanis of Riverview recently took 23 needy children from the community to J.C. Penney shopping for new clothes.  

“Our program is called Coats for Kids, but it is really much more than that,” said Kiwanis President Diane Kinlen. “Years ago the Kiwanis sponsored a Coats for Kids program but now we take the children to the mall ourselves to buy new clothes.” 

Because transportation can be a problem for some of these families the Riverview club hires the bus from the Woodhaven Kiwanis to transport the families to J.C. Penney for an evening of shopping. 

To maintain some anonymity the children are selected by the Riverview Community School District.  Once they agree to participate in the program each child is given a budget of around $80 to $90 per child. That amount doesn’t sound like much. But with the heavy discounts provided by the store, each child gets about $125 worth of clothes.  

President Kinlen said, “The children and parents are always very appreciative of the help especially at this time your year.”  

Director Andy Swift said, “This year will stand out as one of my favorites.  Several of the children gave all our members a big hug with a bigger smile and said thank you.”

After all the children had their new clothes wrung up, the very helpful cashiers waited while the receipts printed as they were several feet long.  

This is one of the most expensive events the Kiwanis sponsor each year.  This year the total value of the program was just over $3,000.

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