WWU Collects Coats for Missouri Girls Town

William Woods University is doing its part to keep the young women at Missouri Girls Town in Callaway County warm this winter by sponsoring a coat drive.

The campus coat drive was the idea of Sable Handke, a senior social work major from Glen Ellyn, Ill. She is doing an internship at Missouri Girls Town, working with Stacie Eastwood Smithee, LCSW, director of admissions and a 2003 Woods graduate.

“Young women come to Girls Town without a lot of personal possessions,” Handke said. “As the cold weather approaches, they need warm coats, so a coat drive was a good project for me.”

Handke’s goal was five coats, but she collected at least five or six times that many, as well as a dozen sweaters and several hooded sweatshirts.

“I was really impressed with the number of donations and the generosity of William Woods students, faculty and staff. I’m really grateful for their support of Girls Town,” she said.

“The coat drive was a big success,” Smithee agreed. “All of our girls who needed jackets were able to get them, and many of them were new. The young women were very appreciative and excited. Most of them had never been able to pick out their own coat before.”

Smithee had praise for Handke, as well: “She made it all happen. She coordinated the coat drive, got the coats delivered and handed them out to the girls.”

Founded in 1953 by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Missouri, Missouri Girls Town is a residential treatment facility for girls, ages 8-21, who have been abused or severely neglected. It is located just off I-70 at the Calwood exit.

Their mission is to create a loving, stable environment for the girls’ care and treatment and, in the process, help them develop the life skills they will need as adults. Girls Town provides care year-round for more than 50 girls from across the state of Missouri.

While students, faculty and staff have been donating coats on campus, members of the community are encouraged to bring contributions of any type of clothing to Yours, Mine, and Ours thrift store, 608B Market St., Fulton.

The store is run by Missouri Girls Town to generate funds and to give the young women experience in retail. It is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

For more information, contact Yours, Mine and Ours at (573) 642-4404.


Sable Handke sits in her Alpha Chi Omega sorority house surrounded by coats and sweaters donated to Missouri Girls Town by students, faculty and staff of William Woods University.