Between 250 to 300 coats recently were distributed to low income families in Carbon County through a coat drive organized by Carbon County Association of Realtors.

The coats were distributed at Panther Valley Elementary School. This is the third year the Realtors held the coat drive.

In the first hour, nearly 30 families stopped by for a coat. Also on hand for distribution were hats and scarves which were donated by the teachers at the school.

"Each year it gets bigger with more coats donated and more coats are given away," said Kathy Henderson, CCAR office manager.

There were a lot of brand new coats and gently used coats, said Paula Fritzinger, who was putting in a volunteer shift to help families find coats that fit their needs. New coats were purchased through donations from Realtors and the community.

Mary Dugan Figura, principal at Panther Valley School, opened the doors at the school for the drive and that the space in the school gym allowed the coat drive to grow.

Coats for the drive are collected throughout the year, with real estate agents putting out the word that they are collecting coats. They buy gently used coats at thrift stores and yard sales throughout the year. The used collection of coats was supplemented with plenty of new coats through the cash donations once they knew which sizes were still needed.

Kimberly Rabenold, chairman of the community service committee, organized the coat collection and give-away event.

Figura said that she was thrilled to have the realtors bring the coat give away event to her school.

"We have tons of kids who are on free and reduced lunches," she said. "There is definitely a need for kids who need coats."

She said that morning several children had showed up for school without coats.

'I've been telling families that anyone who needs a coat can show up here," she said. She said that Panther Valley Elementary School is the likely the neediest school in the county. She noted that the school also has a free breakfast program through a grant that is well received by the children.