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Geibel students holding coat drive

| Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The 17th annual Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School Winter Coat Drive for the needy is now underway.

Students of Marian Cadwallader's French Honor Society are the organizers of this autumn event each year. The group has set a goal of equaling or exceeding the 800 items collected last year.

New and gently used coats, blankets and warm baby sleepers are being collected. They can be dropped off at the main office of Geibel at 613 E. Crawford Ave. during regular school hours from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Also, collection boxes have been placed at Immaculate Conception, St. Rita, and St. John parishes in Connellsville; St. Aloysius in Dunbar; St. John the Baptist in Scottdale; and St. Pius and Visitation in Mt. Pleasant, as well as other churches in Fayette County for the weekends of Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 26-27.

The coat drive was started at Geibel in 1997 by Margaret Soisson and her Latin Honor Society students. When Soisson retired in 2004, Cadwallader continued the project with the French Honor Society. Items are distributed to Connellsville Area Community Ministries, Rendu Services in Dunbar and St. Vincent de Paul in Uniontown.

“I feel that the coat drive is a great cause. It's a lot of work, but all worth it in the end,” said senior Jonah Delmar.

“I love the coat drive. It gets the community involved and it's really helping local people. It's one of my favorite projects to participate in each year and I'm grateful for this service activity,” said senior Gabi Omatick.

This is a community helping community event. These cold weather necessities are donated by members of the various communities the students represent. The givers have been generous each of the previous 16 years and the students are encouraging everyone to take part in this project, said Cadwallader. Coats are needed in all sizes.

“I am always amazed at the generosity of the community, and I hope to see that same giving spirit this year. We seem to have more and more donations each year. Last year, over 800 items were distributed. The number of items collected has more than doubled since I first started. This is a favorite service project for my students,” said Cadwallader, who is the French teacher at the school.

“Connellsville Area Community Ministries appreciates the work of the Geibel French Honor Society in providing coats for distribution to our clients who need them. Through our food pantry and other ministries we encounter many people who are in need of a coat and the coats provided by Geibel help us to meet this need,” said Chip Rowan, executive director of Connellsville Area Community Ministries.

“This is a great way that I can help out the community. I enjoy taking part in it every year,” said senior Neil Solan.

“Helping people stay warm in the winter gives me a warm feeling inside,” said senior Patrick Nahhas.

Anyone with questions is asked to call 724-628-5600 or email at mcadwall@geibelcatholic.org.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.

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