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March 05th, 2021

coat driveJessica McClellan and her daughter, McKenna, show off a couple coats that were donated as part of the coat drive they coordinated. Coats and other winter gear can be dropped off at Scantlin’s Furniture during the store’s regular business hours. L&T photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Liberal and much of the rest of the U.S. were plunged into arctic conditions that saw temperatures plunge 40 or more degrees below average for this time of the year. 

With that weather system being so sudden, many were unprepared as far as winter weather gear and now that the arctic weather seems to have moved out, one local mother and her daughter want to make sure people are prepared with the proper winter gear. 

Jessica McClellan and her daughter, McKenna, will be collecting coat donations during regular business hours through Wednesday at Scantlin’s Furniture. Deciding to do the coat drive, McClellan said, was relatively easy. 

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“For the past couple of years, being a mom and knowing there are a lot of children and other people who don't have coats, that didn't sit right with me how there were people going cold,” McClellan said. “This was actually something we'd wanted to do a couple years ago, but it just didn't happen. Then recently, with the arctic blast that came through, we thought it would be a great time to do a coat drive, and my daughter, McKenna, sees a lot of her schoolmates every day who don't have proper coats, especially nothing that would guard against anything like that just came through. There are parents who can get their children coats, but there are also a lot of parents who can't, and with the bad, icy weather that just came through, we decided we'd go for it and have a coat drive. So I got ahold of Scantlin's Furniture and asked if they could be a drop-off point, and they were all for it.”Getting everything together, McClellan added, was a very quick process. 

“It took only about a day,” McClellan said with a chuckle. “We decided earlier this week 'Let's just do it!' and then I talked to the owner, Matt Graham about doing the drive, and he said he actually had a big mattress box we could use and a few coats that were needing to be donated, so they put that together here on site. Then I got on Facebook and told people we were doing the coat drive, and I've already had a bunch of people messaging me about wanting to donate some stuff of their own, which is awesome. We're going to be taking donations through next Wednesday, and then next weekend we'll gather everything up and figure out what we have and then work out a plan to distribute everything throughout the community.”

McClellan said the high interest already seen in donating is a very good feeling, and added she hopes to ultimately see many donations of winter gear.

“I'm hoping we get a lot of donations, my goal is to get around 100 coats/winter gear pieces,” McClellan said. “I've already gotten several messages on social media about bringing donations, so I'm really excited we'll be doing this. With the cold weather we just saw, I would definitely encourage people to donate if they can, because there are so many people every day who aren't properly prepared for the colder weather, so they need some help getting the proper winter gear to wear.”

“It's going to a really good cause and it'll be helping a lot of people who might need,” McKenna added. 

McClellan said a main goal of the coat drive is to help make sure people are prepared for future cold weather. 

“I would say it's important to be prepared, because you never know when bad weather is going to hit, I don't think anyone fully anticipated how bad this arctic blast was going to be,” McClellan said. “And we've all been in a spot where we hear on the news to prepare for inclement weather, but then it's nowhere near what was predicted. So we want to help people be prepared for bad weather, and donating some winter gear could help a lot of people next year, whether they need a coat period, or maybe someone has a child who's outgrown their winter coat and will need an update for next year. We're taking new and gently used winter gear of all sizes, but we are wanting to focus on children since they need more help with that stuff, and if not coats/winter gear, people can also donate blankets.”

Overall, McClellan said, she is looking forward to seeing the end result of the coat drive. 

“I'm excited to see how many donations we get, and I'm really happy people are willing to help so much and so quickly, from all the social media messages I've gotten and Scantlin's Furniture being willing to be the drop-off point for everything,” McClellan said. “I'm excited to see a lot of people helped and I'm excited we're able to give back. People can bring their donations to Scantlin's Furniture during regular business hours until next Wednesday, which also includes the weekends. It makes me feel really good already having so many people wanting to make donations, it shows me Liberal has a lot of good people who want to help right away and want to give back. I'm really glad we're able to do this for the community, I'm glad McKenna's getting the chance to see so many of her schoolmates get help, because she sees a lot of that firsthand at school every day. She also donated an old coat of hers herself, and I'm glad we're able to help fill such a big need, especially with the bad weather that just came through.”

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