Pictured: Anabel Villarreal, 1, was the first to receive a new coat at Operation Cover Up Friday as part of a campaign started by Domingo Lopez III, also known as DJIII, at the sheriff’s department.

Photo by OFELIA GARCIA HUNTER

Lopez held coat drive with help of sheriff's department, local businesses

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Domingo Lopez III said seeing children without the basic necessities like a winter coat touched him enough to do something about it.

"I took my son to school and noticed that some kids didn't have a jacket," Lopez said. "I just woke up one morning and decided to do it."

Lopez, along with the help of local businesses and the sheriff's department, initiated Operation Cover Up as a way to provide winter coats and jackets to children in the community.

On Friday, children began lining up with their parents to receive a brand new coat at 11:20 a.m.

The coat give-a-way got underway at noon. Coats from three months old to extra large youth sizes were available to anyone who brought their children to the parking lot of the sheriff's department.

Volunteers were setting up and sorting the coats according to sizes.

"The child has to be present, only one coat per child," Lopez said.

Anabel Villarreal, 1, and her sisters, Stephanie Villarreal, 6, and 7-year-old Cassandra Villarreal, were the first in line.

"I like the bows," said Cassandra as she tried on the fleece jacket with black and silver bows.

Her little sister Anabel pranced around dancing to the music in her new coat.

Ethan Espinoza, 8, and his step-brother Jacob Salas, 6, also tried on their new coats.

"I like it, I like the inside of it," said Ethan, as he felt the interior of the coat.

Isabel Rodriguez tried on several coats and found a perfect fit.

"It's fine cause it's pretty," she said as she picked a blue coat with a flower logo.

Lopez said that without the donations from businesses and individuals the coat give-a-way would have not been possible.

"It's something we decided to do for the children," Lopez said. "Maybe we can use this as an annual event and make it bigger each year."

Businesses and individuals who donated were:

Edward's Furniture

Lupe Martinez

Roel Garza Dental

Ruben's Funeral Home

Boys and Girls Club of Alice

Rushing and Gonzalez Pharmacy

Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department

Jeans Restaurant

KUKA

KOPY

K-99

Bodi Works

The Tint Shop

Farmers Insurance Agent Norma Trevino

Jo Dan with Diamond C Construction

Tabby Tamez

Rosana Lopez

Vence Chevrolet

Yvette Lopez

Eloisa Sepulveda

Janie Moreno