Dozens of sponsors, local principals, Rotary members and media representatives came together for the Bountiful Rotary’s Annual Coats for Kids Car Show Kickoff, held this past Thursday. The show itself, which is scheduled for June 17-18, includes everything from music and food to car parades and burnout contests in the name of raising money to provide local kids with needed winter clothes.
“It’s a joy to be involved,” said KSL News Radio’s Doug Wright, who entered his own car in the show last year. “There’s so much time, effort and money that goes into this, and it all goes to the right places.”
The event itself is free, offering activities ranging from a tire roll and pie-eating contest to a prize drawing and a miniature flame truck. This year, the Bountiful Community Service Council will also be getting in on the fun by holding a concert by the Dizzy Desoto Band on June 18 after the car show awards ceremony.
With so many free activities, the money for the coats comes from the fees for registering cars, concession sales, and similar items.
Since the sponsor donations pay for the bulk of the event costs and an enormous amount of help is simply donated, the money earned can go straight toward the coat vouchers.
“There’s so much work that will never, ever be totally recognized,” said Wendel Burt of Burt Brothers, the car show’s title sponsor.
Last year, the event raised more than $11,000 for coats for local kids in need. Though the rain reduced the amount of money raised at the 2010 show, surplus from previous years meant that every needy child still received winter gear.
Even chilly weather, however, can sometimes add to the spirit of the show.
“It (last year’s car show) was kind of cool because it was so cold,” said 2News Meteorologist Sterling Poulson. “The whole point was coats for kids, and we were freezing to death when it wasn’t even that cold.
“So imagine what it’s like for kids in January who don’t have coats.”
The Bountiful Rotary provides the winter gear by taking the money from the previous year’s car show and taking it to Kmart to be turned into vouchers.
The vouchers are then distributed to the different elementary schools in the area, who distribute them to the parents of kids in need. The children can then go to Kmart and select a coat off the rack, at which point they go to the register and parents give them the voucher instead of payment.
That way, the kids themselves never have to know that any charity was involved.
“These kids don’t want other kids to know that they can’t afford a coat,” said Boulton Elementary Principal Laura Bond. “It’s that philosophy that makes it so important to our kids.”