WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — HumanKind Ministries’ Operation Holiday is officially underway.

The region’s largest assistance program provides help for 12,000-15,000 individuals each year, many of them just children. Last year, the program assisted over 7,000 children alone.

“Children make up a huge proportion of those we serve through Operation Holiday,” says HumanKind President and CEO LaTasha St. Arnault. “Even when our total numbers fluctuate year to year, the number of children remains around 7,000. Last year, supply chain issues and production costs made it difficult to get enough coats; this year, our goal is to provide every child with a winter coat.”

Since 1960, the program has distributed basic needs including food, blankets, children’s coats, and more, to low-income individuals and families in the Wichita area. Each year, HumanKind works with hundreds of volunteers and community partners to execute Operation Holiday.

The city-wide collection drive also begins on Tuesday, Nov. 1. This year, the greatest need is for new or like-new children’s coats, particularly sizes youth large and above.

If your organization wishes to host a collection drive, you can pick up boxes from
HumanKind’s administrative office, located at 829 N. Market, Mondays through Fridays, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donations of coats, or any items on HumanKind’s Operation Holiday wish list, can also be made at HumanKind’s administrative office through November and at the Operation Holiday warehouse, located in the former Sear’s Auto Center at Towne East Mall, from Nov.14.

Public distribution will take place in a drive-thru format at the same address from Wednesday, Dec.14, through Saturday, Dec.17. Applicants can choose a time slot during their application.

HumanKind is also in need of monetary donations to help fund Operation Holiday and other programs throughout the coming year, like their emergency winter shelters. Monetary donations can often be more beneficial because they are able to purchase needed items in bulk at a discount.

Applications for assistance are open now through Nov. 30. You can apply online at OperationHoliday.org, by phone at 316-777-6097 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m to 5 p.m., or at select in-person application sites. For more information, including eligibility requirements and application site locations, visit OperationHoliday.org.