Ascension Via Christi Hospital associates in Manhattan, Kansas, recently donated two large cartloads of winter clothing, coats, hats and gloves to the local school district’s lending closet. The district serves about 300 students and their families each month, providing groceries, hygiene items and clothing.

“One of our associates in Labor and Delivery approached me and asked if we could organize a coat drive. She had been getting her winter coats out for the cooler weather and saw that she could donate some extra items,” said Michelle Kennedy, Senior Marketing Specialist, Ascension Via Christi. “I thought it was a great idea and reached out to USD 383, our local school district, to see if they needed anything. Tracy Emery, Coordinator of the district’s ‘FIT [Families In Transition] Closet,’ informed me that they were in desperate need of winter items, so it was perfect timing.”

The FIT Closet began as a service to students who were experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity.

“Our associates really came together and helped local students in need this winter, and I am so grateful for them,” Michelle said. “Tracy was shocked at how much we provided and said we exceeded her expectations.”

Photo: Tracy Emery, FIT Closet Coordinator, left, and Caitlin Pride, Director of Mission Integration, Ascension Via Christi Hospital, Manhattan, Kansas.