Local Entities Team Up in Support of Coats for Kids

As part of a service project during their birthday month, two Little Oak Montessori students collected boxes of coats and winter clothes and donated them to the Coats for Kids drive held by Insitu, in partnership with Washington Gorge Action Programs (WGAP).

Insitu and Little Oak Montessori have teamed up with Washington Gorge Action Programs and other nonprofits to collect coats and other winter clothes for kids and families all over the Gorge.

On Dec. 7, two students, Hudson, and Sylvie from Little Oak Montessori brought boxes and bags full of winter clothes to Insitu’s office in Bingen. Hudson and Sylvie both have December birthdays, and at Little Oak Montessori school they do birthdays a little differently.

“Each month the students choose a community service project. The students who have birthdays in that month are responsible for that month’s community service project. Hudson and Sylvie chose Coats for Kids,” said Naomi Bull, head of school at Little Oak.

Hudson and Sylvie were inspired to help families of the Gorge in a practical way and knew that this program already existed, so they reached out to Insitu, a sponsor of the drive, to see if their class could participate.

“Community service is a regular part of the way that our students engage with our community as they learn how to be positive contributors to society. They are our future leaders so learning to be tender care takers of others is incredibly important,” said Bull.

Little Oak Montes-sori does about 10 service projects per year.

“Next week our school is putting together holiday meal baskets for WGAP in Bingen to provide holiday meals for local families in need. Last year, we delivered 35 meal baskets which were distributed to families in our community!” added Bull.

Some of the other service projects Little Oak has participated in are visiting the folks at the Rock Creek assisted living facility in Stevenson. The students sang songs to the residents and will be going back to bring holiday cards to some of the residents they’ve formed relationships with. The school also raised $1000 for its scholarship fund and will be matching those donations with acts of kindness in the community.

“We look forward to spreading 1000 acts of kindness throughout the Columbia River Gorge this year!” said Bull.

On Insitu’s end of things, the Coats for Kids drive is just one of the many things the company does to give back to the community this time of year.

This is a great time of year at Insitu as their Months of Giving are well underway with employees supporting three programs that donate gifts, food, and winter clothing to the Gorge community. In partnership with Washington Gorge Action Programs (WGAP) and the Hood River County Christmas Project, Insitu aims to provide Holiday gifts to over 100 local families with its Tree of Joy campaign.

Tree of Joy is a holiday gifting program that was started in the Bingen/White Salmon community several years ago and had been supported by Insitu. Insitu receives tags from local organizations such as WGAP, Hood River County Christmas Project, and Department of Children, Youth and Families in Stevenson that are on the wish lists of kids and seniors.

These tags are then displayed on decorated trees in the Insitu facilities’ lobbies. Insitu employees then choose a tag, purchase items on the wish list and return wrapped gifts under the tree.

The gifts are then taken to the local organizations and distributed to the children and seniors making a truly Happy Holiday for all who participate!

“Insitu employees love participating in this program and give joyously,” said Kip Miller, community coordinator for Insitu.

The Coats for Kids program asks for donations of new and gently used winter clothing. Donation boxes are in Insitu lobbies in Hood River, Bingen and Vancouver now through February. When the boxes are full, they are taken to The Next Door, WGAP, Head Start, Whitson Elementary, Henkle Middle School and Trout Lake school where they are distributed to those in need.

The Green Bag Heroes program runs all year and fights food instability with collections of non-perishable food items every other month, which are also at Insitu lobbies. The next food drop off is Feb 3. Over the last four months, 2,523 pounds of food have been donated to FISH in Hood River and Vancouver and to WGAP in Bingen.

“Insitu has over 180 volunteers who are active on both sides of the river. We helped with the Hood River Children’s Park rebuild, Community Pride in Bingen and the Art & Wine Fusion in White Salmon just to name a few and it’s nice to see that positive momentum carry over into the winter and holidays. It’s a pleasure to work with local organizations like WGAP, The Next Door, FISH, and the Christmas Project, as well as local schools that directly benefit community members,” said Miller.

If you’d like to donate food or winter clothing (there is a big need for winter boots for children!) contact commmunity@insitu.com.

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