About 15 years ago, members of the Exchange Club of East Dallas noticed children going to school without coats. So the club started raising money to give coats to any neighborhood kid who needed one. The club normally distributes about 1,000 coats to nine Dallas ISD schools each winter, but they recently received a $10,000 grant from Comerica Bank. So this winter, the club is providing 2,000 coats. “The challenging economic times have made it even more difficult for less fortunate families to purchase winter clothes for their children,” says John Costa, Comerica senior vice president, who also is an Exchange Club board member. One school, O.M. Roberts Elementary, has about 650 students, and 300 of them receive coats from the Exchange Club. “Lots of little kids are going to have a coat this year because of Comerica,” says Lou Powell, the Exchange Club member who oversees the coats for kids program. The club hosts a golf tournament every year — the 80-year-old Dallas Junior Golf Championship. The golf tournament is how the club raises most of the funds for its altruistic efforts, which also include providing scholarships, school supplies, books and computers to East Dallas schools. The Exchange Club intends to use the partnership with Comerica as a way to reshape its fundraising efforts. The golf tournament will remain a focus for the club, but they hope to obtain more corporate sponsors as well. “We’re merely a vehicle to raise money for kids in these East Dallas schools,” Powell says.
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