By Deb Keithley
A local men’s church group has been providing coats for children in the area for a decade.
Chuck Koopmann, member of the Lutheran Layman’s League group of Macon’s Zion Lutheran Church has been the project coordinator for all ten years.
Koopmann said the group was looking for a service project and Dr. Jim McDowell came up with the idea of coats. They group decided from the start to purchase new coats for the children. In the ten years they have given over 500 coats.
“We have given out around 50 coats a year,” he said. “Our biggest year was in 2010 when we provided 76 coats.”
Over the years, they have distributed coats to the children from Macon Elementary School, Macon Head Start, Macon Community Child Development Center and a few to Shelby County.
Koopmann says that the group works with these locations to select the recipients. “The school nurses and teachers know which kids and families need the help,” he said. “They contact the families for their approval and to get the correct size.”
Koopmann says he purchases the coats and delivers them to the facilities for distribution to the children. A letter to the parents or guardians is attached to each coat asking that they pass the coat along as a “hand me down” to a sibling or someone else who needs it when outgrown. Inquiries about receiving a coat need to go through the school officials says Koopmann.
Money to purchase the coats is raised through donations from Zion church members, civic groups, individuals and local businesses.
Anyone who would like to help with this project may send donations to: Coats for Kids, c/o Zion Lutheran Church, 32405 Business Route 36, East, Macon, MO 63552.
“Our goal is to keep children warm and healthy,” says Koopmann.