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Project Bundle Up gearing up

October ushers in a splendor of multicolor leaves and a briskness that hints at the coming of winter.

And as the mercury plummets, parents may find themselves scraping to afford the obligatory winter coats for their children.

Not to worry, said Capt. Aubrey Stephens of the Mon Valley Chapter of the Salvation Army.

For at least the third year running, the charitable organization will be in a position to buy winter coats and other cold-weather clothing for more than 140 people. The effort is part of the Pittsburgh-funded Project Bundle Up.

This year, the Monessen-based chapter received approximately $8,000 for the project, Stephens said.

Exact financial figures came later than usual, and the allotment was $1,000 less than last year’s amount.

“We were cut a grand,” Stephens said. “And I’ve got to tell you, I was blessed it wasn’t cut in half.”

Project Bundle Up provides coats and other clothing to young people 18 and younger, and to senior citizens 65 and older.

The Mon Valley chapter benefits those living in the following ZIP codes: 15012, 15022, 15033, 15062, 15072, 15087, 15412, 15432, 15434, 15438, 15477 and 15483.

“We cover some small towns and we don’t cover some small towns,” she said.

Those interested in receiving winter clothing should call the Salvation Army to set up appointments with caseworkers.

Each applicant must provide proof of identification, expenses and income.

Children can apply for new coats every other year. Seniors can apply once every three years.

“Children grow so fast their parents can’t keep up with them,” Stephens said.

Once the applicants are selected, they will be instructed to meet Salvation Army officials and volunteers at Kmart for a day of shopping.

Each applicant will receive a voucher, and volunteers will help families choose a coat and other apparel.

“It’s kind of fun,” Stephens said of the shopping day. “Some of the kids are dumbfounded that they are getting a new coat.”

This is the second year that members of the Monessen-Rostraver Rotary Club have volunteered to help with the shopping extravaganza.

Rotarian Gary Dalton, who volunteered last year, said he looks forward to this year’s program.

“It was a very rewarding experience and I was happy to help.,” he said. “It’s a good program that helps people with a basic need that many of us take for granted.”

Stephens said that while a coat is the first priority, the voucher also can be used to purchase accessories such as boots, hats, scarves and mittens.

The shopping day will take place at the end of October, and Stephens encourages those who are interested to apply before the second week of October.

For information or to apply, call the Salvation Army at (724) 684-4282 or visit the office at 308 Schoonmaker Ave., Monessen.


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