HAWLEY - Here’s your chance to help keep some needy children warm this winter season, through a campaign started by the Hawley Rotary Club 12 years ago.

Their annual Just Jackets campaign started October 2 and continues through October 21. Rotary collects clean, usable winter jackets for toddlers, children, and teens and distributes them to Hawley Head Start and Wallenpaupack schools.   
Ski-type jackets are welcome, but please, no wool or leather items or men’s topcoats, the announcement from Hawley Rotary stated.

This year there will be four collection sites:  the Hawley Library, Wayne Bank – Lake Region Branch, Michelle’s Family Hair Salon in Greentown and Watson’s Deli in White Mills.

1,000 jackets

It is estimated that the 1000th jacket will be distributed this year, the twelfth year of the project. Last year Hawley Rotary was able to distribute 88 jackets to five Wallenpaupack schools and it is anticipated that even more will be available for the winter of 2017-18.   

Recently Michelle’s Family Hair Salon on Lake Wallenpaupack in Greentown and Watson’s Deli in White Mills have been added as drop-off sites in addition to the Hawley Library and the Honesdale National Bank, making it more convenient for donors. Donations may be dropped off at the four sites through October 21st during regular business hours.

How it started

Just Jackets is a project of Hawley Rotary. The project was organized 12 years ago for the local Rotary club by long-time member and Past District Governor, Melanie Tek-Visgilio. Originally, it was called “Winter Woolies.”

She said she started the project after seeing students waiting for buses in the morning without any outerwear. After attending a Rotary Zone Institute, she came up with the idea of recycled jackets.

Hawley Rotary also has a budget item for buying brand new jackets each year to supplement those donated by the community. They have also distributed jackets and coats to local senior centers.


Rotary makes sure that all jackets are clean before handing them over to the schools, where school nurses make them available to students in need. Rotary sorts them according to sizes appropriate for each school.

Although Hawley Rotary does not have contact with the students who receive the jackets and coats, the nurses are very appreciate, she stated.

“Two nurses in particular, Mrs. Olsheski in the Middle School and Mrs. Farley-Mell in North Elementary, send notes with insight what the jackets mean to a certain boy or girl,” she stated.

“This year’s Rotary theme is ‘Rotary: Making a Difference’ and that is what we hope were doing with our Just Jackets collection,” Melanie said.

Hawley Rotary Club welcomes new members. They meet at 6 p.m. Thursdays at The Settlers Inn.  For further Rotary information visit Facebook/Hawley Rotary or call 570-857-0290.