These coats are going to be given away this Saturday at the Salvation Army Community Hall. Photo courtesy of Lee's Clothing

These coats are going to be given away this Saturday at the Salvation Army Community Hall. Photo courtesy of Lee’s Clothing

Nearly 80 winter coats are being given away to families in Petersburg this weekend. It’s a volunteer effort by the new student-based Interact Club. KFSK’s Angela Denning has more:

The temperature is supposed to dip into the teens and twenties in the coming days. Winter coats are essential. But not everyone in Petersburg has a good one. That’s the problem that some local junior high and high school students have set out to fix.

“We decided that gathering children’s coats and adults’ coats for people in need would be one of the biggest issues right now,” says Claire Byrer, a sophomore in the Interact Club.

For a few days, Byrer and other students took turns sitting outside of Lee’s Clothing store downtown collecting coats from people who would donate them. She says the coats are in good condition.

“A lot of the coats that we got actually still had tags on them,” Byrer says. “It was incredible how many. There were a lot of vests and heavy winter coats that are going to find a good home.”

The Interact Club is a student run program through Petersburg’s Rotary Club. The students meet about twice a month during lunchtime to talk about what they can do to make the community a better place.

Junior Casey Evans says he likes the club because it allows students to be a part of Rotary and do what some of the exchange students do.

“But they don’t have to take a year to go to a foreign country,” Evens said. “They can do a lot of the same stuff in your own community.”

The Rotary Interact group is new, just starting up this fall. But they hit the ground running. There are about 20 students involved, 8th through 12th grade. The purpose is to promote service learning.

Or as Byrer puts it: “Like putting effort in our community and making it more beautiful and a better place.”

The Interact Club students helped hand out candles for the community tree lighting ceremony recently. The new group is also looking at broader ways they can volunteer.

Ginger Evens is one of the adult leaders of the club.

“The students start looking at projects, what difference can they make in their community, locally, is there something in the state that we can look at contributing to and are there any international projects that the students can contribute to from Petersburg,” Ginger Evens says.

Lee’s Clothing was a partner in the coat collection. Besides being a drop-off site for the coats the business gave away coupons in exchange for the donations.

The free coats will be given away at the Salvation Army Community Hall this Saturday 4-6 p.m. There will also be cookies and hot cocoa. And Santa Claus will be there for pictures as well.