KNOX - For the seventh year Keystone Coats for Kids is starting its winter coat drive. The first drive was in 2015 for the Keystone School District.

The response from the community and even people from out of the area has been so overwhelming that this organization has been able to reach out to all school districts in Clarion County.

In the past six years coats have also been given to ACV First program, Keystone SMILES, Clarion County Promise, Head Start programs, Clarion County Children and Youth Services, local day cares, Next Step Therapy, SAFE, Knox Caring Cupboard and Clarion Psychiatric Center. All were very appreciative of the coats along with some hand knitted caps and boots. To date 2,713 coats have been distributed.

All coats are purchased through Operation Warm.org.

Operation Warm was started by Dick Sanford in the winter of 1998 after he drove past a group of children without coats huddled together at a bus stop in Kennett Square located in Chester County.

The sight of these children led Sanford to a local store where he purchased 58 coats that were given directly to children in need. His generosity inspired the creation of Operation Warm and since then, millions of coats have been purchased as a result of communities working together to improve the livelihood of children in need.

All the coats are fleece lined and have a fleece lined hood. The cost of each coat is $20, but no donation is too small. This year Operation Warm has washable tennis shoes that are $15 a pair. If enough money is raised, this organization would like to purchase shoes also.

Donations can be made payable to Keystone Coats for Kids and either mailed to or dropped off at Farmers National Bank, P.O. Box 665, Knox, Pa. 16232 or dropped off at Knox Auto Supply in Knox or New Bethlehem. The donation deadline is Oct. 10.