With temperatures in Johnson County hitting single digits this week, Highland Elementary’s Community Problem Solving team has been hard at work making certain local residents in need of all ages have warm clothes and more.

Passersby of The Coffee House on Main Street will see a new fixture outside: A full coat rack.

The CmPS team, named “Warming Warriors,” have helped run a soup kitchen through Mayo Methodist Church, are currently organizing a free food giveaway at a downtown gazebo, and have now put up the coat rack, a place where those in need can find a warm coat for free, and an easy place for those with extra coats to donate one for others.

The Coffee House was a special location for the rack, because the Warming Warriors found their cause just across Main Street outside the Historic SIPP Theatre last year. 

“One of our teammates, around here, saw some people actually putting their hands on cars to stay warm,” team president Trent said.

“It was after a production of ‘Elf: The Musical,’” sixth grader and team vice president Bethany said. “Everyone had their cars running after the show, and people were coming over and warming their hands on the cars.”

The team also gave a portion of the funds they have raised to The Coffee House, to pre-pay for 25 cups of coffee and 25 cups of hot chocolate for people in need who could use a warm beverage but may not be able to pay.

Bernice Cunagin, director for the Staffordsville-based Hands and Feet Ministry, has been running a coat drive through a drop-off tote at The Coffee House already. Hands and Feet Ministry sorts the drop-offs by need in coordination with school resource center directors to get them to children who need them.

Cunagin said she is thrilled seeing the kids find a new way to give back, for Paintsville residents of all ages who may not have a school resource center to depend on for such needs.

“It melted my heart. That’s the thing, is to inspire,” Cunagin said. “You’ll never believe the impact you’ll make on other children. They’ll remember that. I’m just so thankful that you all are doing this. To think that a young group of kids have that same desire to help others. We’re working to the same goal, and either way, somebody’s going to get a warm coat.”

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