Elks Lodge No. 1735 Grant Coordinator Donna Matthews and Upshur County Public Library Director Paul Norko are excited to welcome children and their families to the 'Warm Welcome to the Library Event' set for Tuesday.

BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon Elks Lodge and the Upshur County Public Library have partnered to provide winter coats to local children who need them.

Warm Welcome to the Library will take place from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15 at the Upshur County Library, where children from kindergarten through fifth grade will be given winter coats.

Grant coordinator for the Buckhannon Elks Lodge No. 1736 Donna Matthews said she applied for a grant from the Elks National Foundation and was consequently awarded money for the coats.

“The Elks Lodge applies for grants every year, and this is a new grant called the Spotlight Grant,” Matthews said. “I applied for the grant – it’s $2,000 – and I’m just so excited about it. I’ve got $2,000 to spend for coats, which I’ve already purchased 60 coats to give away in various sizes.”

The event includes pizza, pepperoni rolls and drinks, and Matthews said all the parents have to do for their child to receive a coat is to take a tour of the library.

“My grandson grew up in Upshur County, so we spent a lot of time at the library and he still loves to pick up that book,” Matthews said. “I don’t think the parents in Upshur County realize what the library has to offer their kids. It’s just not a place to come and sit down; it’s a magical place where kids can learn and explore.”

Director of the Upshur County Public Library Paul Norko said people can also learn about signing up for a library card.

“We’ll show everyone the sections of the library,” Norko said. “A lot of people don’t know we have DVDs, audiobooks and e-books too and that we do a lot of work with schools,” Norko said.

Norko said the partnership appealed to the library because it’s an opportunity for library staff to showcase to the community what the library has to offer.

However, ensuring children have warm coats was even more important, Norko said.

“It appealed to me, not just because it brings kids into the library, but because I’ve heard that there are some parents that aren’t able to dress their kids appropriately for the weather,” Norko said.

Matthews said organizing programs for the community is what the Elks Lodge is all about.

“At the Buckhannon Elks Lodge, we’re all about kids, the community and veterans,” Matthews said. “I’m very involved with the schools, even though I don’t have children in the school system as of now. I see so many of the kids in need of winter clothes and coats.”