GALLIA COUNTY — Reflecting on generosity in these strange times is one way to look at life with a different perspective. This year, thanks to the work of students at the Ohio State University, things look a little warmer.
The OSU Public Health Student Leadership Council, a group at the Ohio State University College of Public Health, organized a coat drive for several Appalachian Ohio counties, including Gallia, this year. Coats were then donated to probation program participants “who are striving to turn things around and get on their feet,” according to a Facebook status by Gallia Citizens for Prevention and Recovery (CPR), who worked with the Public Health Student Leadership Council in distributing coats in Gallia County.
The coat drive came out of a study the council worked on concerning opioid use in Gallia, Vinton, Meigs, Jackson, Pike and Scioto Counties. The council does outreach events in these counties, and decided to hold a coat drive because there was a need for coats in Scioto County. From there, the drive expanded to other counties. This year, Gallia, Scioto and Pike Counties received children’s coats through the coat drive.
“In Gallia we actually had a last-minute donation that we used to buy adult coats,” Madison Conley, the president of the Public Health Student Leadership Council, said.
The council fundraised the entire month of November, raising $3,000 dollars, which was used to purchase coats through Operation Warm, an organization that provides winter coats to children across North America.
Because the pandemic changed how OSU operates, all the coats were first shipped to Conley’s home in Pike County, where she sorted them before delivering them to counties. The council worked with Thom Mollohan of Gallia CPR, the Gallia County Court of Common Pleas and Gallipolis Municipal Court Probation Departments, and Appalachia United of OSU.
There are 25 students from across the country in the Public Health Student Leadership Council at Ohio State.
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Sharla Moody is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing from Gallipolis, Ohio. She is a graduate of River Valley High School and currently attends Yale University.