If anything, the bone-chilling temperatures were a rude reminder about why everyone needs a coat.
With the mercury in the teens Friday morning, hundreds of people lined up outside the I-70 Business Center in North Lawrence to get a prime choice on donated coats and other warm clothing as part of Scotch Fabric Care’s 23rd annual Share the Warmth campaign.
“There are people standing in line here, and you’ll see that they don’t even have a jacket on this morning,” said Capt. Wes Dalberg, director of the Salvation Army. “They’re standing in shirt sleeves. It’s like 18 degrees outside, so it means a lot for them to have a warm coat to wear around.”
Scotch collected and cleaned a record 3,700 coats this year in the Lawrence area. The Salvation Army administers the giveaway.
Cori Aiken, 25, was thankful to have her pick Friday morning. The former Washington state resident moved here earlier this year, and she said she recently lost nearly all of her belongings and was “starting over.”
“It’s pretty amazing to be honest. I’ve never seen anything like this before, so it’s pretty cool,” Aiken said.
She is currently at a rehabilitation center in Lawrence, and she is also working on taking community college classes.
“I’m looking for anything, just something that I like that’s going to be really warm. That’s my biggest thing,” she said. “I haven’t spent a winter in Kansas yet, so I’m nervous.”
Dalberg said tough economic times have increased demand for the coats at least the past two years. People accepted more than 2,500 coats last year.
“It’s really important for people in our community to be able to have this chance to come out and have something warm so they can make it through the winter,” he said.
Anyone can still stop by to pick up a coat or coats at the North Lawrence storefront from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.