Your donations will help clothe kids in need

Contributing Writer

The Bears are out! The North Royalton High School football team, our Purple and Gold Bears, are asking residents to help “Stuff the Bus” for the 2014 Coats for Kids campaign. Saturday, November 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the North Royalton Board of Education, 6579 Royalton Road, near the north entrance of the Serpentini Stadium, the football team is going off the gridiron to collect cash and new or gently used winter coats for kids in need.
Coats for Kids started in 1981 when employees of a local radio station realized that many children in the surrounding areas were missing school for lack of a warm coat to wear in the winter. That November, Coats for Kids – Cleveland was founded and the radio station began soliciting donations of like-new, gently worn coats and cash donations to purchase new coats for school kids in need. In the last 32 years, more than $3.25 million has been raised and more than 500,000 new or like-new coats have been distributed to children (ages 0 – 18) throughout northeast Ohio. This year marks Coats for Kids’ 33rd year of keeping kids warm.

Saturday, November 8, “Stuff the Bus” event is sponsored by our North Royalton High School football team. It takes a lot of coordination to get that bus rolling. This year’s “Stuff the Bus” coordinator is Karyn Barrett, who says, “I’ve been working with Ann Gurin from Coats for Kids, and Sandi Burger, a former chairwoman, to fill in all the missing pieces and guide me in the right direction. So far, much of the work has been done through email and phone calls.”

Karyn volunteered for the position when the previous coordinator’s son graduated in 2013. Karyn has six more years of football to look forward to. “Coordinating this effort seemed like a good fit. It’s an amazing way to give back to a community that has been extremely generous to our students,” she said. Her son Patrick, a junior, has been playing varsity football and stuffing the bus since sophomore year. Her son Jack plays football for the middle school and anticipates working with his mom for six years. Karyn has made this a family affair by recruiting half of her daughter Rylie’s U12 travel soccer team. Students from the North Royalton Middle School’s Chain Link Club are also participating. Other kids love making the event happen. One mom said her son, Matt Yako, “has volunteered to help out for the past few years. He loves it!”

Bears and friends will be making noise and holding signs on Royalton Road calling your attention to their big yellow bus. Last year’s “Stuff the Bus” campaign collected $1,002.02 in cash and 590 coats. The football players are gearing up for another successful event. “Stuff the Bus” is being promoted through the school district’s website, on Facebook and the fall edition of The Bear Way digital magazine. “Stuff the Bus” is listed on events and promotions.

Look for the Bears on Saturday, November 8. They are looking forward to seeing you. It’s going to be a grrrrreat event. For any questions about the North Royalton “Stuff the Bus” Coats for Kids campaign, please contact Karyn Barrett at 440-552-0903.