Shawnee firm helps with coat drive in a big way.

Originating in 2009, The West Law Firm designed a coat drive program to give back to the community. Partnering with the Salvation Army in Shawnee, this program helps those families that are in dire need of coats for the winter season.

Donna Rogers, chief administrative assistant for The West Law Firm, holds key responsibility for the program. Rogers volunteers her time to go out and find coats that meet standards to hand out to families in need. Additionally, Kelly Hassen, Penny Ezell and Rhonda Masquat volunteer their time to assist Rogers as well.

Hassen and Ezell are also employees at the West Law Firm.

Masquat is Rogers' sister and works for the city of Shawnee.

Starting out, this program donated a whopping 150 coats in its first year. The idea for this program developed when Rogers began helping with the Angel Tree program. Since then, law partners Brad and Terry West decided they wanted to help on a larger scale.

Rogers said they are hoping the more people they tell about the program, the more they can inspire people to help. With hard work, dedication and funds this program was able to buy 279 coats for the Shawnee area this year.

Brad West, partner at The West Law Firm, commented what this program means to their business.

"Our business is to help those in unfortunate situations so it is just our natural extension to help," he said.

Lt. Philip Canning, core officer for the Salvation Army, said their generosity means a tremendous amount to the Salvation Army.

Lt. Philip Canning additionally recalled how a father in the area recently came to the Salvation Army for help. The father said he had an emergency situation, he needed winter clothes for his daughter because her clothes aren't weather appropriate anymore.

Lt. Elaine Canning, core officer for Salvation Army, said 75 percent of children would have gone without coats last year if it wasn't for the coat drive's donations.

"We are extremely thankful for their generosity," she said.

West said he was happy to do it.

Rogers said it is fun and it puts a smile on people's faces.

Lt. Phillip Canning elaborated on ways individuals could help families in need this holiday season. He said they can use food assistance, help with the Christmas boxes and you can volunteer with the kettles to help raise money for their giving season.

"Fill the Truck," a toy drive, will be held at Walmart Nov. 30. Also, Shawnee FFA is hosting a toy drive Dec. 7 at the Shawnee Mall.

Lt. Elaine Canning said hopefully the sincerity of their hearts and generosity will hopefully inspire people to help. If interested in volunteering, contact 405-275-2243.