by Jenniffer WARDELL
BOUNTIFUL—It’s a Davis County tradition that’s helped thousands of kids.
The Bountiful Rotary Club helped everybody gear up for this year’s Coats for Kids Car Show with their annual luncheon, held last week. The event, which includes a variety of car-themed activities and raises money to provide coats to children in need, has been entertaining Bountiful audiences for decades.
“It’s the 20th anniversary of our car show, which we’re pretty excited about,” said Bountiful Rotary Club President Clint Jeppson.
Car show co-chair Chris Simonsen highlighted some of the history of the event to those attending the luncheon, including the sales pitch to then-Bountiful mayor John Cushing. That first car show started out small, featuring only 200 cars and even fewer dinner options.
“We had one hot dog food truck,” said Simonsen. “We bought every hot dog in Bountiful, because people were eating them like crazy.”
The car show’s food court has grown considerably over the last two decades, and club members hope that residents will continue to eat just as enthusiastically as they did then. The money raised in the food court provides the bulk of what goes toward purchasing the vouchers, which are distributed to south Davis children in need by their school principals.
“We count on those vouchers, because we know we have students in need,” said Meadowbrook Elementary Principal James Campbell.
Those students also include those from other countries, who may not be prepared for what a Utah winter is like.
“(One mother I spoke to) said that she had no idea the winters here were so harsh,” said Campbell. “I said ‘Actually, this year has been pretty awesome. You have no idea what’s coming.’”
The principal tells the club how many vouchers their school needs, then distributes them to the parents and guardians of the children in need. The parents and guardians then take that voucher to Walmart, where they can choose a coat and other winter gear the same way they would if they were paying for it with money.
“The child has no idea the mother didn’t buy it,” said Simonsen. “That’s the real beauty of Coats for Kids.
The car show is also supported by a variety of sponsors, including Burt Brothers, Costco, Ford Motor Company, Holly Frontier, Texas Roadhouse and more. According to Bountiful Mayor Randy Lewis, it’s that spirit of giving that’s helped make the car show what it is today.
“When I think of the car show, I think of the Bible definition of pure religion – to take care of the widows and fatherless,” he said. “Is there a better thing they could do than to help children, especially children in need?”
For more information about the car show or how to volunteer to help keep it running, visit bountifulrotary.com/coats-for-kids.