‘Coat lady’ no longer has to say, ‘No’ (slide show)

MARYSVILLE – The “coat lady” must have felt like Scrooge the past few years.

While everyone else was giving stuff away at the Toy Store, Jodi Condyles had to take things away.

That’s because donations only allowed one coat per family.

“It was difficult,” Condyles said Tuesday as more coats were being delivered. She tried her best to “graciously say they could only take one.”

“Which one needs it the most?” she would ask. Usually it was the child who grew out of one.

Because they wanted everyone to get a coat who needed it, “The call went out and the results are amazing” this year, she said.

The Marysville Police Department stepped up in a big way. They encouraged people to buy a coat and donate it on the four days officers went to four local stores. Others also were part of the effort.

“We have twice as much, I would guess,” Condyles said of the amount of coats. Volunteers were sorting the coats Monday and Tuesday. About 1,200 families in need are signed up to get the free items Wednesday and Thursday at The Grove Church.

After moving from place to place over the years, Tara Mizell of the city parks department said the church has been great.

“This is Shangri La,” she said, compared to some previous locations.

The number of bicycle donations looks up this year, and that’s thanks to one anonymous donor, Mizell said, adding he buys them and puts them all together.

Just three weeks ago, it looked like the Grinch might have stole Christmas as Toy Store donations were down to about one-third of what they usually are. “Once we got the word out, stuff just started flooding in,” Mizell said.

Christie Veley with the fire department added, “And they’re still coming in – from all over.”

More than 723 coats have been donated, along with $4,163 to buy 181 coats.

Mizell said local people are generous. They like to donate when they know it’s staying in the community. 

Along with all the donations, about 150 people volunteer to help with the event.

“It’s mind boggling,” Mizell said of everything that happens to make the Toy Store a reality.

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