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Ripon Rotary kicks off annual coat drive with Interfaith Ministries
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RIPON – There’s at least one group that wants to make sure everybody is equipped to handle the falling temperatures.
For the second straight year the Ripon Rotary is teaming up with Interfaith Ministries for an annual coat drive that they hope will help provide the needy in the community with the most important item for braving the cold temperatures – which can dip below freezing in the Central Valley after the sun goes down.

It’s not just the homeless that are being targeted by the program.

With the economy’s downward trend, Ripon wasn’t spared by a wave of foreclosures that forced families to seek refuge elsewhere – whether it meant rooming with friends or family members or temporarily splitting up their own family until things get better.

“Riponites we kind of live in a bubble – we live in an affluent community and we don’t often think about how many people there are out there that need the things that we take for granted,” said Rotarian Stephanie Hobbs. “These are the bare essentials of life and often times they go overlooked and that’s extremely unfortunate.”

Last year the group managed to collect 72 winter coats that were dispersed by Interfaith Ministries along with the other essentials that they provide to the needy in the community – an organization that Hobbs and the rest of the Ripon Rotary would be perfect to partner with on this undertaking because of their experience with the needy in the local community.

While it might just seem like a standard part of the winter wardrobe for most, a winter coat can mean the difference between relative comfort and freezing during especially cold weather. Hobbs also noted that many people have coats just sitting in their closets that either aren’t going to get worn or are too small – things that would be perfect for somebody else that needs it.

“It’s one of those things that you don’t think about until you don’t have one,” she said. “This is a chance to help those people who are without.”

Donation sites like Save Mart, Bank of Stockton, and Mar-Val will be accepting coat donations through December while Interfaith Ministries will also be accepting donations even after the collection cut-off has passed.

For more information, contact Mike Garcia at 996-4996.

To contact Jason Campbell, e-mail, or call (209) 249-3544.