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Bright Futures Siloam Springs is collecting coats and other items to help students in need at Winter Sharefest on Dec. 15.

Counselors and staff members in the Siloam Springs School District have identified 256 students who would benefit from the event, according to Krystal Wheat, director of the organization. Each student will receive a coat, a new pair of shoes and a bag of groceries for their family.

Bright Futures is an initiative within the Siloam Springs School District that streamlines school, community and business resources to help meet the basic needs of students so they can focus on learning, according to the school website,

Several organizations in the community, including businesses and churches, have partnered with Bright Futures for Winter Sharefest, Wheat said. New and gently used coats in all sizes are being collected in barrels at Arvest Banks, Occasions, Newks, La-Z-Boy office and Snappy Dry Cleaners. Coats can also be dropped off at Bright Futures offices at Siloam Springs Intermediate School. Snappy Dry Cleaners has volunteered to clean all of the coats that are donated, she said.

All sizes of coats are being collected but the biggest need is for coats in adult sizes that would be appropriate for teenagers to wear, Wheat said.

Church members from The Assembly church, where Krystal Wheat is wife of Pastor Gary Wheat, have a tradition of collecting shoes for the students for the annual winter event. The church has a shoe tree, where members can pick out a tag with a shoe size on it, then purchase new, name-brand tennis shoes for students to wear, she said.

School adopters groups have been collecting food items for the grocery bags and local industries such as Simmons Foods and McKee Foods have donated items for the bags, Wheat said.

Several student organizations are volunteering for the event, Wheat said. The high school baseball team will be coming beforehand to put the grocery bags together and will help out on the day of the event by carrying groceries to the car for families. The high school bilingual customer service class will also be volunteering to help organize, setup and sort items, which will provide them with some real-life experience doing inventory, Wheat said.

"It benefits a lot of people in a lot of different ways, not just those 256 children," she said. "I think when you give, you get way more than you give."

Wheat said that items such as coats and shoes are needed throughout the year and any donations above what is necessary for Winter Sharefest will used in the coming months. Cash donations would also be appreciated so that Bright Futures can purchase grocery items to complete the list of what is needed for the event.

Those who would like to donate or volunteer can call the Bright Futures office at 524-8175 or contact the Bright Futures Siloam Springs Instagram or Facebook pages.

General News on 12/05/2018

Print Headline: Bright Futures collecting coats for students in need

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