Dylan Murdy, right, Cooper Loeppky and Stas Jankowski sort winter coats for Chilliwack kids of all ages in a Canadian Tire warehouse on Sunday night. The coats will be delivered to students throughout the week. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Winter coats delivered to kids across Chilliwack

Program collects and delivers 700 coats to kids who need them across Fraser Valley

A small army of volunteers gathered together on Sunday night, out of the cold rain in a warehouse for an annual task — organizing hundreds of winter coats for Chilliwack’s school kids.

The Murray Honda Coats for Kids program will have put winter coats on the backs of 700 students by the time this week is over. It’s a project that’s made possible by volunteers, business sponsors, and by Murray Honda and Canadian Tire.

It’s a massive effort, filling a massive need.

Principals at each of Chilliwack’s 40 school are asked to fill out a form listing the gender and size of each student who needs a winter coat. At some schools, that number is 67, or 58. At other schools, the number is as low as two or three. But cold is cold, and the need is still there for those children.

So, Murray Honda’s Justin Mallard has taken up the task of appealing to sponsors and volunteers to dig deep into their hearts to support the cause, and he’s constantly overwhelmed with support from this community. In addition to the Coats for Kids efforts, Murray and Canadian Tire partner up every other year to put winter boots on students’ feet.

And in the summer, Murray Honda partners with Staples for the We’ve Got Your Back program, which sets up students with a complete back to school pack for September.

In total, Murray Honda has brought together almost a half million dollars in funding toward Chilliwack students and schools.

“From a community standpoint, it’s very important for us to keep doing this,” says dealership owner Darren Bosch. “There is a need there, and if we have that ability we’ll do it.”

“It’s something we’re really proud of,” he adds. “We’ve put over $400,000 worth of goods into the school system over the past five years. It’s something that makes everybody proud to work here.”

Some of the business sponsors this year included Select Real Estate, Master Painting, Browns Socialhouse, Glamour Secrets, Carstar Chilliwack, Murray Mazda, Chances Chilliwack, but there are many more who have stepped up to help as well.

This year, they’ve also been able to branch out and cover Agassiz, Hope and Boston Bar, with a special sponsor to cover all of School District 78, Fraser Cascade.

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