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New look, same great mission

Volunteers began putting posters on boxes and bins on Thursday. The receptacles will be placed in dozens of locations across western Marquette County on Monday as the 10th annual Project Keep Kids Warm kicks off. Boxes will be in place at schools, churches and businesses for the collection of winter clothing for area children aged birth to 18 years until Oct. 9. Volunteers are needed for collection and clothing sorting prior to a “free shopping day” at the Ishpeming Armory on Oct. 12. Over the years the effort has collected thousands of articles of clothing annually which are distributed to hundreds of needy families in the area. (Photo courtesy of Jacki Crimmins)

ISHPEMING — Project Keep Kids Warm is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year by introducing efforts to become more efficient and donor friendly.

The effort, which has provided thousands of articles of winter clothing to area children age birth to 18 years annually since 2009, will deploy donation boxes at 35 convenient locations across western Marquette County.

In previous years bags with brightly colored labels have been placed on the doorsteps of thousands of residents for pickup at a later date.

The change, according to PKKW Coordinator Dick Derby, should streamline volunteer efforts and increase convenience for residents who wish to donate, who in previous years had to adhere to the strict timeline associated with curbside pick-up.

Derby said he is hopeful that western Marquette County communities will embrace the change, as the need for winter clothing “does not go away.”

“This is neighbors helping neighbors,” Derby said. “These communities always seem to step up, and we are hoping for the same level of involvement this year.”

Residents are asked to bring new or gently-used winter clothing including coats, hats, gloves, mittens, and boots for donations to the locations listed below.

Boxes in Ishpeming include: Wesley United Methodist Church, UP Health System-Bell, Birchview School, Ishpeming High School/Middle schools, Aspen Ridge School, Jubilee Foods, Anytime Fitness, the Ishpeming Post Office MBank, Auto Value, TruNorth Credit Union, Trinity Lutheran Church, Bethany Lutheran Church, Faith Lutheran Church, Bethel Lutheran Church, Morrison Drug Store, Flagstar Bank and St. John’s Catholic Church in Ishpeming.

Residents wishing to donate in Negaunee can visit: Range Bank, Embers Credit Union, Negaunee High School, Negaunee Middle School, Lakeview Elemetary School, Negaunee Post Office, Super One, Immanuel Lutheran Church, and Honor Credit Union. Women of Steel in Tilden Township will also participate.

Questions about the program can be directed to Derby at 906-235-0339, Brenda Wootke at 906-485-4683 or the Wesley United Methodist Church in Ishpeming at 906-486-4681.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.