ELKHART — Hundreds of Elkhart-area residents will be better prepared to brace up against the winter cold weather thanks to a recent giveaway spearheaded by two local nonprofits.

South Side Inc., in partnership with the Interdenominational Ministers Alliance, hosted a coat drive to help those who can’t afford winter gear, distributing items at this year’s Friend’s and Family Feast and Coat Giveaway event.

More than 300 coats, as well as gloves, hats, scarves and other winter accessories, were given at this year’s giveaway, according to Rick Newbill, president of South Side Inc., which helps south Elkhart neighborhoods and coordinated the giveaway portion of the event.

“This is our sixth annual giveaway and throughout that time, we’ve given away over 3,000 coats to people of all ages and sizes,” said Newbill. “For us, it’s all about giving and working with people in need in our community.”

All coats were either new or gently used, organizers said, and were collected by the Elkhart Police Department, Elkhart Fire Department (East St.), Kem Krest, Community Foundation of Elkhart County, Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, Kingdom Impact Church, Agape Missionary Baptist Church, LaCasa, Gurley Leep Honda, Forest River Corporate, River of Life Community Church, New Vision of Life Church, Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, St. James A.M.E. Church and Stephenson’s of Elkhart. 

As many as 500 attended Saturday’s event, at the Roosevelt Center, also eating a meal of ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, pie and more, organizers said.

The holiday dinner was spearheaded by Interdenominational Ministers Alliance.

Edwin Newsome, president of IMA, said the purpose of the event is to bring all of Elkhart together to help those in need and to celebrate the start of the holiday season.

“This event is a way for us to bring community support and unity together among nonprofits and the city and to help those in need of sustenance and coats,” Newsome said.

Sponsors for the event included United Way, Community Foundation of Elkhart County, Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, Chase Bank, His Image, Executive Cleaners and Waste Away Group.

Big Lots, Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Community Foundation of Elkhart County and individual donors have also contributed items for the giveaway.

The few remaining coats and items from the giveaway are going to Shepherd’s Cove Clothing Pantry this week, organizers said. 

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