“On my way to work every morning I pass several bus stops where i’ll see a few kids wearing warm coats and the other kids are just in t-shirts or hoodies so the need is definetly there,” said Northwest Arkansas local, Jared Gage.
Every year hundreds of kids in Northwest Arkansas have to walk to school in below freezing temperatures without coats, so Sunday morning locals shed their layers to see what it’s like to walk a mile in their shoes.
“We heard from one of our local schools that out of their 600 students only a third had coats,” said Gage.
Those other 400 students left piling on whatever clothes they might have.
“We found them layering in t-shirts, waiting on the bus, getting out for recess at school just to stay warm,” said Gage.
With just shorts and a t-shirt on his back Owner of Lewis And Clark Outfitters Rob Potts said experiencing the challenge first hand reminds him of why bringing awareness is so important.
“We’re not doing anything that kids don’t do all day. We’re walking so we’re staying fairly warm but it makes you think about kids who are standing by the bus stop and walking to school and playing out on the playground who don’t have a jacket,” said Lewis and Clark Outfitters Owner, Rob Potts.
“There’s probably about half a million unused coats in our area. People get new coats for Christmas and shove the old ones in our closet, we’re just trying to raise awareness and hopefully get those coats to kids that need them,” said Gage.
While a coat may only last for a season, through their annual coat drive these locals hope to make an impact that lasts a lifetime.
“The coat is just a small thing. By just giving that kid a coat I mean who knows how that could impact their whole lives just by keeping them warm on a day like today.”
Lewis and Clark Outfitters are taking coat donations until January 31 at both locations.