Pratt Elks presented free children's coats to families in need.

A change in grant application timing has resulted in children in Pratt County getting new coats.

The Pratt Elks Lodge 1451 handed out coats for “Operation Warm” on Thursday, Jan. 10 at the Elks Lodge to children of families in need. Purchase of the coats was made possible through an Elk’s Bea- con Grant. This is a first time project for the Elks and expectations are it won’t be the last, said Elks member Linda Stelzer, event organizer.

“I just hope it goes,” Seltzer said.

An Elks foundation governs grant money and when grant applications are due. Normally, Pratt Elks use the grant money for Christmas in July where they provide food boxes for families in need.

With the change in the grant application, 2019 became an off year for doing the Christmas food boxes.

So Pratt Elks decided to try the coat program this year. While the Elks are trying out the coat program, they may go back to a food distribution program next year, Stelzer said.

“I don’t know if we will do Christmas in July again,” Seltzer said. “We’ll have to decide which we want to do.”

School nurses for Skyline and Pratt identified which students needed to receive coats. Notes were sent home with children and parents were called directly to let them know the coats were available and when and where to pick them up, Stelzer said.

At the coat distribution, coats were laid out, by size, on rows of tables. When families came in, each had an invitation to select a coat. Volunteers assisted as the child picked out a new coat from a variety of colors and styles. Once the child selected a coat and tried it on for size, the volunteer wrote the child’s name on a tag on the inside of the coat.

When coats were ordered, the Elks couldn’t order just one coat in any size, they had to order a box full of either six or 12 coats per box. This resulted in additional coats being available.