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Categorized | Outdoors

Coats for Kids campaign

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has teamed up with The Salvation Army’s “Coats for Kids” campaign to help Michigan’s kids “GO-Get Outdoors” safely this winter.

On Saturday, Dec. 5, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., anyone delivering a “Coats for Kids” donation to select Michigan state parks or recreation areas will receive free access to the park for the day to enjoy late fall recreation opportunities, such as hiking, biking, walking, geocaching and more. A total of 16 state parks and recreation areas in the Lower Peninsula are participating in the campaign. The closest one to our area is Muskegon State Park in North Muskegon.

The Salvation Army has been supporting those in need since 1865. Nearly 33 million Americans and 9,000 communities nationwide receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services, ranging from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach for the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter for the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. For more than 24 years, the “Coats for Kids” campaign has provided new or gently used coats to families who cannot afford them. With the economic downturn this year, the need has more than doubled.

“We are extremely pleased to join the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in the ‘Coats for Kids’ campaign this December,” said Major Ralph Bukiewicz, the Salvation Army’s Western Michigan Northern Indiana divisional commander. “This campaign allows each local community to assist their neighbors in need, and provides an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty and resources available at Michigan state parks and recreation areas.”

Through this partnership, the DNR and The Salvation Army offer the opportunity for families to enjoy a free day in a Michigan state park or recreation area. It also provides a way to give to other children or families in need, and pass on the same opportunity to “GO-Get Outdoors” and enjoy the winter season.

“There are already so many reasons kids don’t interact with nature, such as time spent watching television, playing video games, using the Internet, fear of the unknown, and more,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “This partnership allows us to remove barriers that too many kids face in Michigan. We saw an opportunity to help, and we hope Michigan’s outdoor enthusiasts will join us in this effort to get youth, and their families, outdoors. We also hope this campaign will inspire people to make helping kids and enjoying nature with family an annual holiday tradition.”

Park visitors who make a donation also can enter a drawing for a free weekend at the Traverse City State Park cottage in 2010, a three-bedroom, two-bath house with a view of Grand Traverse Bay and easy access to the beach. Reservations are subject to availability.

The only day to make a donation in lieu of a $6 daily permit is Dec. 5. For a list of participating state parks and recreation areas, visit www.michigan.gov/dnr, under “Recreation, Camping and Boating.”

For more information on the Coats for Kids campaign, contact the local Salvation Army Corps Community Center in your community, or visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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