PIQUA — A dream that began with an idea in Ben Gover’s mind came to fruition on Friday with the delivery of more than 200 coats, along with many winter hats, gloves, and scarves, to the Piqua City Schools Transportation Office.
Gover, an employee for the city of Piqua, had noticed a number of children at schools and bus stops not wearing coats or proper clothing for winter. This fall, he decided to do something about it and enlisted some of his friends to help.
Mark Reedy from Piqua Thrivent Financial, Kathy Sherman and her staff at the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce, and Dwayne Thompson, superintendent for Piqua City Schools, lined up to assist.
Thompson suggested that no one sees the need first-hand more than the bus drivers who pick up and drop off students every day along their routes, so Piqua bus drivers became the point people for the project.
Drop-off points were established at the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce offices and at Thrivent Financial.
On Friday, the first round of donations were delivered to the schools. The donations will be divided among the school buildings and distributed as needed, including all Piqua City Schools, Piqua Catholic, Lehman Catholic, Nicholas School, and the Upper Valley Career Center. All of these schools are serviced by the Piqua City Schools Transportation Department. Bus drivers will be taking the lead in helping to determine students who may need clothing.
Gover said that, as clothing was donated, some new and some lightly used, Sunset Cleaners donated their services to dry clean all of the items, then returned it to be packaged for delivery. “We can’t thank them enough,” said Gover.
“This would not be possible,” Gover went on, “without the support of the citizens, the community, and local businesses.”
The outpouring of donations of goods and also monetary commitments has been “truly incredible.”
The drive will continue throughout the winter months. Gover said they still have around $1,200 that will be used to shop for more specific items of clothing as needs are identified.
There is still time to take part in the drive. Donations are being accepted during regular business hours as the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce, 325 North Main Street, and Thrivent Financial, 429 North Main Street, both in Piqua.