By Obed Manuel
Operation Coats for Kids is underway at Brookhaven College. The campaign is being held in order to purchase 152 coats for the children in Brookhaven’s on-campus Head Start program.
Terri Edrich, executive director of human resources at Brookhaven College, said she came up with the idea after seeing the children in the Head Start program collecting candy for Halloween around campus.
“I just thought they probably could use some help,” Edrich said. She said she and the human resources staff didn’t know a lot about the Head Start program, or that there were income levels the children had to fall in, so they believed that with the children on campus, they were a part of the Brookhaven community and they were a group that could use some help.
Edrich said she proposed the idea on a much smaller scale. She said she wanted the human resources staff to pool money and purchase as many coats as they could instead of their usual holiday gift exchange.
Edrich said she then approached Johnny Castro, professor of child development, about the idea.
Castro said he is the middleman between the office of human resources and the Head Start program.
“I do a lot of planning for Head Start, so I was glad to take on the job,” Castro said.
Castro said what struck him most was the reaction given by Peggy Polk, site director for Head Start at Brookhaven College, when she was told the idea.
“I was ecstatic when I found out about the drive,” Polk said. “It’s so good to know that we have people on campus that care this much about our program.”
Polk said she was not aware of how many students Edrich had in mind when she suggested the program.
“When I found out they wanted to help all 152 of the children, I was overwhelmed,” Polk said.
Polk said when all funds are collected and all 152 coats purchased, Head Start will host an event where children in the program will receive the coats.
“It’s going to be a surprise for them and the parents,” Polk said. “I want the parents of the children to know how fortunate their children are to be at a place like Brookhaven.”
Operation Coats for Kids is accepting donations until Dec. 1 in J125.