Girls get the gift of warmth

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Operation Coat Drop delivers 207 coats to Kootenai County schools

More than 200 girls in Kootenai County schools are a little bit warmer today after receiving donations of brand-new coats in December.

The Coeur Group, along with Macy's and Rita Case, teamed up for "Operation Coat Drop" to deliver the 207 coats to girls in need.

The coats were donated through Macy's "Buy 1 & We'll Give 1" campaign in partnership with Clothe4Souls, a division of the group Soles4Souls that collects and distributes clothing to people in need. Together they donated more than 30,000 coats nationwide.

Case, of Rick Case Automotive Group, recruited the program to the local Macy's store after she recently moved to Coeur d'Alene. She contacted the Coeur Group to distribute the coats through the group's Locker Project.

The Coeur Group, a group of businessmen who dedicate time to charity, launched the Locker Project after Pam Asher, Lake City High School counselor, approached them with the idea to install supply lockers at schools, stocked with clothing, toiletries and other items students may need throughout the year. So far, 13 lockers have been installed at individual schools across Kootenai County.

At the EXCEL Foundation's Big Event last November, the Coeur Group auctioned off its 14th locker, bringing the group closer to the goal of having a locker in each of the 17 schools in the Coeur d'Alene School District. The locker was purchased by Lola Hagadone and Paige Leifer, who have purchased lockers in the past for local area schools.

Included with each locker is a check for $2,000 to stock the locker with supplies specific to the needs of each school, and a member of the Coeur Group is assigned to work with the school to ensure the lockers remain stocked throughout the year.

Information about the Coeur Group is available at www.thecoeurgroup.com.

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