RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The coats are piling up inside Evergreen Carpet Care in east Reno, which has become a drop-off site for the Big Reno Coat Drive. There were already hundreds there before Mariah Erickson and some helpers showed up with armfuls of brand new jackets.
"Three years ago, I started a Facebook page called Reno Fire Wives and when I saw Lindy's story on KOLO, one morning I was laying in bed and I thought, 'We have to get involved in that!'" says Mariah Erickson.
That's how Erickson was able to rally more than 60 other women in the community to give and spread the word about the coat drive to their friends. Erickson is not just a firefighter's wife and mother of two; she's a first grade teacher who has seen the heartbreaking need in the community.
"Kids coming without any warm jackets," she says of some of the students she has had. "They're wearing shorts instead of pants, they're just in short sleeves instead of jackets, so I know this community right here, Reno-Sparks needs this!"
Reno Fire Station 1, where her husband works, became a drop-off site, one of more than 60 around town where you will see the barrels for the Big Reno Coat Drive. At least 350 coats will be going to local schools. Counselors at several schools, including Rita Cannan Elementary, have contacted organizers of the Big Reno Coat Drive to request coats, saying more than half of their students need something warm this winter. For some kids, the coats they get from the coat drive will be the first one they will ever own.
"To be able to give them a brand new coat, they light up," says Lindy McQuirk, President of the Big Reno Coat Drive. "And it's a real warming feeling for us to be able to give back to these kids who don't know really any different."
Erickson says it doesn't take much for anyone to help.
"This is the time of year, we're out shopping; we're spending money," she says. "Let's do some of that and spread some of that love in our own community."
Donation barrels will remain out in the community for the Big Reno Coat Drive through November 30, 2017.
The following are drop-off locations for the 2017 Big Reno Coat Drive:
AAA - S. Virginia St.
All Occasion Rentals
Anytime Fitness – N. Valleys
Anytime Fitness – Red Rock
Blue Kangaroo (Gateway Drive)
Caughlin Ranch Elementary School
Camie Cragg Fitness (3865 Mira Loma Drive and 10 State Street, Reno)
(5009 S. McCarran Blvd- RENO)
(193 Damonte Ranch Parkway, Suite T)
(3502 S. Virginia Street, Suite A1)
(1460 S. Wells Avenue)
(2875 Northtowne Lane, Suite F)
(2900 Clear Acre Lane, Suite N)
(495 Keystone Avenue, Suite C)
(205 N. McCarran Blvd, Unit A- SPARKS)
(1151 N. Rock Blvd- SPARKS)
(3953 S. Carson Street- CARSON CITY)
Concepts- Summit Mall
Dr. Anthony Brunelli, DDS
Evergreen Carpet Care
First Cal Credit Union
Goldilock's Jewelry & Coins
Great Basin Bicycles
High Sierra Cycling
Laub & Laub
Macy's (Men's and Women's)
Dickson Realty – O'Brien Group
Our Lady of the Snows School
Reno Tahoe Magazine
Rock On Magazine
Silverman Kattelman Springgate, Chtd.
Starbucks (McCarran & Lakeside)
South Meadows Dental
Anytime Fitness – Vista Blvd
Carneys Full Service Movers
Evolution Martial Arts
Flower Bucket Florist
Schulter Systems (USA Parkway)
Arconic (fna Alcoa)