Snow has begun to fly in the Upper Peninsula within the last week or so, and hundreds of children in western Marquette County have received winter gear just in time to fight off the weather.
Project Keep Kids Warm wrapped up at the Ishpeming Armory on Saturday. Volunteers collected hundreds of new and gently used winter coats during the two previous weeks. Area families got to shop for free at the armory for whatever they needed.
“There are people who kept saying, ‘thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this, for hosting this event again, because we really need to come and get snowsuits and boots and hats and gloves, jackets for our kids’,” Project Keep Kids Warm volunteer Dick Derby said.
More families shopped for free this year than in any of the previous years of the program, but that information does show something besides only an increasing community need.
“It makes a big difference in our community, and it shows the wonderful aspect of living in a small town where people really recognize their neighbors and are always willing to do something to help,” Derby said.
Project Keep Kids Warm organizers want to thank the hundreds of people from Negaunee to Republic and Michigamme who either donated clothing items or donated their time to collect and distribute those items.