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Opinion: Warm feet, hearts with winter play wear
Jeannie Craft 10:04 p.m. MDT September 20, 2016
Craft mug VRHBuy Photo

(Photo: Coloradoan library)
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One recent scorching summer afternoon in late July, I found reprieve from
the intense heat in a local retail store. Soaking up every little bit of
coolness, I took my time completing my shopping that day. Rounding a
corner, my eyes caught of glimpse of two lone pairs of kids’ snow boots
sitting companionless on a shelf in the shoe department. Were my eyes
playing tricks on me? Was it just my longing for cooler temperatures?

Suddenly, I was transported from one of the hottest and driest Fort
Collins summers I have ever remembered to a much cooler time that winter
brings and visions of kids playing on snow-covered playgrounds filled my
head. I wanted it to be true, so I quickly resumed my shopping and didn’t
look back. I know that the shelves will soon be filled with winter-wear.
Children will clamor to grab snow boots, and snow-covered playground
activities will commence.

Yes, cooler temperatures are on the way and many of our Poudre School
District kiddos living in poverty will be caught unprepared without proper
winter clothing. Except not for long, thanks to the help from Coats and
Boots, a local nonprofit. They have been outfitting children with quality
coats and boots for over 10 years so waiting at sub-freezing bus stops is
bearable and snow-covered playground recess is permissible.

Coats and Boots, started by North Fort Collins Business Association, in
conjunction with Jax, purchases coats and boots to distribute to children
deemed most impacted by poverty. Coats and Boots is in its 11th year. Last
year, 770 children in 17 schools were given assistance and afforded that
simple pleasure of playing in the snow, staying warm and snug in their
winter apparel. This year, the goal is to meet the needs of 900 students in
22 schools. Its mission is simple: to provide high-quality winter coats and
boots to Poudre School District’s students living in poverty. And its
vision is pure, that all children in PSD will be properly outfitted for our
wintry weather and be able to enjoy the pleasures of playing in the snow.

A local PSD principal tells a story of one of her little charges
immediately after receiving her new coat and boots. Seeing the principal,
while skipping back to her first-grade room, the little girl shouted out
with unbridled enthusiasm, “I’m rich, I’m rich!” And yes, this little one
was indeed “rich,” for you see, kids can be rich with knowledge, rich with
love and experiences. I would often tell my little first-graders this and
they “got” it, and this little girl did, as well. She was truly “rich.”

Help make a needy child “rich” this winter season. Give the gift of warmth
so all children in PSD will be afforded the pleasures of snow-play in
comfort. Every penny of your donation goes directly to purchasing quality
winter coats and boots for children in need. Your donation will provide
seasons of warmth. Please write your checks and send your donations to
NFCBA, P.O. Box 115, Fort Collins, CO 80522. If you wish to use PayPal, go
to www.nfcba.org/coats-and-boots/. Click on Donate button. Follow the
instructions in Pay Pal to make a donation. Our kiddos will thank you from
the bottoms of their very warm hearts.

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