Free coats to be given away at Dundalk fire station
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 12:46

Event held on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.

by Ben Boehl

    It is one of the more generous events of the year as WBAL radio will be holding its annual “Coats for Kids” campaign.
    The annual event features the radio station partnering up with the Baltimore County Fire Department as coats are distributed to needy families at Woodlawn and Dundalk fire stations.
    The Dundalk event will be held on Friday, Nov. 23, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Dundalk Fire Station 6, 2815 Sollers Point Road.

    Capt. Joe Griebel of Station 6 said that the station has hosted the event for the past 26 years.
    “It’s always an outstanding turnout,” Griebel said.
    “Unfortunately there is a great need in Dundalk for this particular program, but it’s always been a successful program for those in need.”
    Griebel added the number of coats donated varies each year. Some years there have been as many as 8,000 coats donated and others there have only been around 400.
    “The problem is we don’t know how many we are going to have until a week before the event,” Griebel said.
    “The donations are down around 40 percent this year. I believe the economy has a lot to do with that,” Griebel said.
    He believes that no one will get turned away if they arrive on time at 4 p.m. but the program is on a first-come, first-served basis.    
    Elise Armacost, a Baltimore County spokesperson, said that all family members must be present in order to receive coats, but it’s open to each family member.
    “The program is designed for needy families. We don’t require proof of income to receive coats, but rely on people to use their consciences and good will not to take advantage of the program if they do not have a need,” Armacost said.
    WBAL started the program back as a federally-registered 501c-3 non-profit organization in 1983.
    A  statement on the WBAL website said that “the WBAL Radio Kids Campaign seeks to promote, foster, encourage, support and sponsor various activities for the general educational, vocational, recreational, civic and social improvement and betterment of young, economically deprived boys and girls in the WBAL Radio listening area, without regard to race, creed, color or national origin.”
    Despite the name “Coats for Kids”, coats will be given to children and adults.
    “Gently-used coats are available for adults, too, even though the program is called “Coats for Kids,” Armacost added.
    Donations for coats have been made by the general public as they were invited to donate old coats to Zip Cleaners locations all over the Baltimore area.
    “Every penny of every dollar donated to the WBAL Radio Kids Campaign goes directly to the benefit of the children,” the station wrote. “WBAL Radio covers all the administrative costs of the Kids Campaign.”