Local coat drive keeps children in need warm during the winter.

Local children in need of a little warmth will now be able to find it, thanks to Catholic Charities Mary Martha Outreach and the Salvation Army of Bartlesville.

After a Bartlesville Regional United Way meeting, Misty Wishall, Catholic Charities Mary Martha Outreach, and Veronica Ramirez, Salvation Army of Bartlesville, started brainstorming ways they could team up and help our community even more. They realized how great the need is for a fall coat drive and decided to put it into action. Most children in the community receive coats as a Christmas gift from the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, but with the changing weather, those coats would come too late.

Veronica Ramirez, left, and Misty Wishall, right, stand in front of the 400 coats on the first night of distribution.

“We knew that with this Oklahoma weather that we could possibly need these coats a lot earlier,” said Ramirez. “We were right and ended up being able to pass them out in the knick of time.”

The group worked with the Warming Project out of Guthrie, OK to purchase brand new coats at a highly discounted price. Initially, 250 coats was the goal for the drive, but after talking with Bartlesville Public Schools, they realized the need was even greater. The goal was then raised from 250 to 400 coats.

“When we saw the number come back, it was way over what we expected. Everybody stepped up in our community to meet this need,” said Ramirez.

Thanks to several sponsors in the community, they were able to raise over $7,700 to purchase the 400 coats. Sponsors included: Agape Mission, Bartlesville Regional United Way, City Church, East Bartlesville Christian Church, First Presbyterian Church, and Truity Credit Union. Individuals also donated in person and online.

“I am truly humbled to see how our community worked together to provide much needed coats for our youth,” said Wishall. “It was a pleasure to work alongside another fantastic group, being the Salvation Army. We made a great team and are truly blessed. Sarah Rowe, with BPS, big kudos to her. We couldn’t have done this without her help!”

Organizing and executing this event was truly a team effort. The Salvation Army of Bartlesville organized the intake of the coats and names and Mary Martha Outreach led the distribution processes. Using a similar process to their drive through food distribution, the team used Mary Martha’s warehouse to provide a safe and socially distanced process. Thanks to volunteers from Young Professionals of Bartlesville, all but a few coats were given out over the course of two evenings.

Just knowing how successful this year’s event was, the duo are already brainstorming how they can make next year’s drive even bigger. They want to provide even more coats for children in the community, as well as hats and gloves.

The Salvation Army of Bartlesville provides food for those in need and financial assistance for those who struggle to pay their utility bills or rent. They can be reached through their website at salvationarmy.org/bartlesville, through facebook (The Salvation Army; Bartlesville, OK), or by calling (918) 336-6454.

Catholic Charities Mary Martha Outreach provides food, diapers, and toiletries for those in need through a drive thru distribution process. They can be reached through Facebook (Mary Martha Outreach), by calling (918) 337-3703, or by visiting their website at cceok.org/marymarthaoutreach.

To learn more about the Bartlesville Regional United Way, including the positive impact its partner agencies are making in the area as well as the complete list of businesses who support the organization, please visit www.bartlesvilleuw.org.

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