News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 30, 2013

Club keeps children warm for winter

About 1/3 of funds from annual auction

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Hundreds of Vigo County kids will be warmer this winter thanks to the Terre Haute Noon Optimist Club’s Clothe-A-Child program.

This year the program provided warm, new clothes for about 750 kids.

“It was another successful year for the Clothe-A-Child program,” said Phil Kesner, secretary and past president of the Noon Optimists.

This was the 79th year for Clothe-A-Child, which started during the Depression. Teachers at Vigo County schools, with parental permission, provide the information needed to get warm clothing to the neediest children in the community. It costs about $50,000 to purchase the clothing, Kesner said.

This year, each child received socks, underwear, a pair of pants, a shirt and a hoodie. Those who were in need of a warm winter coat – about 85 percent of the children – were also provided with one, he said.

“It brings a tear to your eye” when the kids say thanks for the warm clothing, Kesner said.

This year, kids and their parents or guardians met at the south-side Walmart to shop for the clothing about 10 days before Christmas.

“They are always very appreciative,” Kesner said of the kids.

Groups from local churches, Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman, area schools, law enforcement — to name just a few — help each year with the program, Kesner said. Local merchants also play a big role by donating items for an annual auction, which raises about one-third of the funds needed for the program, he said.

As with other charitable activities, money was tight in 2013 for the Clothe-A-Child program, Kesner said. Donations are collected year-round and are still being accepted, especially because the program fell a few thousand dollars short of its goal this year, he said.

Donations can be mailed to Clothe-A-Child, care of Hayhurst and Hayhurst Accounting, 519 Wabash Ave., Terre Haute, Ind. 47807.

Donations can also be made online at www.TerreHaute

The Noon Optimist Club of Terre Haute was chartered in 1934. The club supports several youth-related activities, including athletic teams, scout troops, educational programs and other community groups that help needy kids.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or