Rural Metro Fire collects jackets

YUMA, Ariz. – Temps are in the triple digits, but that is not stopping locals like Kurt Nelson from grabbing their jackets and bringing them to a coat drive.

“They were just laying around the house. I figured this would be a great opportunity to somebody that may need them,” Nelson said.

Yuma County’s Rural Metro Fire Department wants your winter clothing and blankets as part of “Christmas in July.” They have been putting on the campaign for more than twenty years, according to EMT firefighter Al Zarate.

“Every donation goes to help out the Crossroads Mission, their detox center and also their family shelter,” Zarate explained.

Nighttime lows can dip into the thirties during the winter, a time when Crossroads Mission helps hundreds of people in need, adults and children. That is why the firefighters want to gather as many warm clothes as they can before the shelter’s busy season begins.

“We’re just trying to be prepared and have more than enough, because there’s a lot of homeless people staying out at the mission,” Zarate said.

Last year’s collection brought in more than one thousand coats.

Nelson said every little bit helps.

“It’s honestly better than just throwing them out when they can go to use when we’re not using them, it always a good thing,” Nelson told us.

Tuesday morning’s drive ended when the fire crew received an emergency call, but not to worry – “Christmas in July” lasts through July 17th.

You can drop your donations off at the following locations through July 17th:

  • Hyundai of Yuma July 8th from 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • Kneaders at Yuma Palms July 11th from 8:30 – 11 a.m.
  • Yuma County Rural Metro administration building

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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