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Winter clothing drive to wrap up Friday

November 16, 2018

A warm hat, cozy socks and matching gloves. These are things not everyone has, but come winter time, everyone needs.

Fortunately, they’re all items Jam the Van aims to provide to area children and adults in the Columbus community.

The clothing drive is the brainchild of Black Hills Energy Operation Technician Allen Stubbert. The goal of the campaign is to fill up an entire service van with brand new winter hats, gloves and socks to be donated to several Columbus-based organizations.

“When I was a kid ... I did have the mismatched (gloves), no stocking caps, holes in my socks. So it strikes a little bit of a more personal (note),” Stubbert said. “My kids have everything, I just want to make sure these other kids have this stuff, too.”

Stubbert approached State Farm Insurance Agent Annette Alt about using her office at 3220 19th St. as a drop-off location, and she agreed. Since Oct. 29, the collaborative campaign between Black Hills Energy and State Farm Insurance has been ongoing and wraps up today.

“I don’t know what to expect. This is my first time ever doing a big fundraiser like this,” Stubbert said.

The campaign is only accepting brand new items. So far, about a dozen individuals have dropped off donations at the office and filled several bins. All donated items will make their way to people at Center for Survivors, Columbus Rescue Mission, Youth and Families for Christ, Simon House, Comfort Closet and several local schools.

“I think this is just another great example of the amazing support in the community and we really appreciate people thinking of us,” Center for Survivors Executive Director Lia Grant said of the clothing drive. “It really makes a big difference.”

Alt said she’s encouraged by the confirmation classes at her church, First United Methodist, contributing to the campaign. But, she said she’s hoping to motivate other local organizations and businesses to get involved.

“I am very competitive, I don’t feel like that’s enough,” Alt said about what has been donated so far. “Columbus is a big community, and there are a lot of people out there that need to have hats, gloves and socks.”

Today, a drive through clothing drop-off for Jam the Van will be hosted at the State Farm office at 3220 19th St., from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. People can drive on by, drop off their donations, pick up some cookies and snacks while also helping to fill up the van.

“We’re trying to make it as simple as possible for them,” Alt said.

After the drive ends, Stubbert said the plan is to sort through the donations and get them to their new homes the week after Thanksgiving.

Eric Schucht is a reporter with The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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