SALT LAKE CITY – Many low-income families in Utah cannot afford to buy coats for their children this winter, so The Knights of Columbus partnered with Catholic Community Services to hand out hundreds of new coats to children in need on Saturday.
Volunteers put the coats on the kids at St. Vincent De Paul Dining Hall, where families were waiting outside.
Each child received a coat, a hat, a scarf and gloves. Dennis Kelch with Catholic Community Services says many kids are living in dire situations, and programs like these help families get through hard times.
“You’ll see wide smiles on all the kids’ faces and the parents because they know this is a big expense for them,” said Dennis Kelsch with Catholic Community Services. “They know what coats cost, and they don’t know if they can get three or four of their children in new coats or nice coats this winter.”
Jerry Hanten with Utah Knights of Columbus described parents’ reactions when their kids received a coat.
“The joy that they show is just overwhelming, the smiles, the hugs,” Hanten said. “I’ve seen mothers start crying because now that they know their children are going to be warm for the winter.”
Parents say they’re relieved to have one less expense they have to worry about.
“We have four kids and it’s hard to nowadays to buy coats and, sometimes, they seem too expensive when we have necessities with food and other stuff,” said Oscar Aguilar, a Salt Lake City resident who got coats for his kids.
Hanten says their efforts give kids and their families a brighter hope for the future.
“It changes their lives because they know that someone cares,” he said.
The homeless shelter is always looking for donations and volunteers, especially during the holidays. For more information, visit their website.