Winter cold will be a little less harsh this year for those in need, thanks to “Coats for Folks,” a coat drive conducted by the Pittsburg Salvation Army.

Winter cold will be a little less harsh this year for those in need, thanks to “Coats for Folks,” a coat drive conducted by the Pittsburg Salvation Army.

Coats were collected Oct. 11 to Oct. 31 at Meadowbrook Mall, Walmart, KKOW 860/KOW/B 200.7 stations, KHST 101.7 The Star/KWXD 103.5 stations and the KOAM TV station.

“We got 400 to 425 coats, and there are still coats trickling in,” said Capt. Gary Gugala, Pittsburg Salvation Army.

Ryan’s Cleaners, A Plus Cleaners and C&S Cleaners donated their services to clean all the coats.

“We very much appreciate their help,” Gugala said Tuesday as he presented a plaque to Sherry Berndt,C&S Cleaners.

“Representatives from Ryan’s and A Plus weren’t able to make it to the presentation, so I’ll hand-deliver their plaques, along with a handshake and my gratitude.”

He said coats were collected for men, women and children.

“We used to have a drive primarily for children’s coats, but since Wesley House now has some vouchers for children’s coats, we thought we’d extend the drive to men and women as well,” Gugala said.

The coats are currently at the Salvation Army post, available free of charge to those who need them. They will also be available on Dec. 16 when the Salvation Army and Wesley House have their holiday aid distribution.

“Quite a few of the children’s coats have already gone out,” Gugala said.

The coats are in good condition, said Berndt.

“I cleaned about 100 this year, and the coats I’ve seen are in much better condition,” she said.

“In the past I’ve sometimes seen some that were torn up and probably should have been thrown away, but this year everybody donated good stuff.”

She has been in the cleaning business for 36 years, and also does clothing repairs and alterations.

This is not her first year to help the Salvation Army. “One year I cleaned 600 coats,” Berndt said.

She said that, through the use of pre-spotters, cleaners can get out most stains, especially if they can work on the garment early.

“If I can just convince people not to wash stuff before they bring it to me,” Berndt said. “Either the water will set the stain, or the dryer will cook it in.”

Because of the generosity of coat donors and the cleaners, “Coats for Folks” is a success, Gugala said.

“People will be walking around the streets of Pittsburg thanking God for the gift of a warm coat from a neighbor,” he said.