Geist Overlook Residents Cook Up Ribs and Coats for Kids

Brandon and Sheri Leum with coats for kids.

So what do ribs and coats for kids have in common? Well, not much unless you are part of the Geist Overlook neighborhood’s annual Rib Fest!
Every September for the past seven years, neighbors have gathered in their cul-de-sacs for ribs, homemade side dishes, games and music. But three years ago, they started putting their good times to good use and collecting coats for the Bob Gregory’s “Coats for Kids” campaign, WTHR Channel 13’s longest-running community service campaign.
“The first year we raised about a dozen coats,” says Brandon Leum whose family is one of six who put on the Rib Fest.
The other families are the Rohrs, Kelins, Shelps, Heidemans and Theils.
“The event kept growing and so did the coat collection. We are proud to say this year we raised over 100 coats for kids!”
For Brandon, Rib Fest day starts early with a bike ride with Team Heroes cyclists. Coats are collected at the ride. Then it is back to the neighborhood where the grills are going, and friends and family are gathering for the Rib Fest.
“People seem to have more fun bringing a kids coat to donate than just writing a check,” says Brandon.
“It’s like their ticket to get in,” he says. “You see them drop off a coat, then head over for a plate of ribs. Maybe they enjoy the ribs a little more knowing they have helped make a difference in their own community.”
Brandon and his wife, Sheri, deliver the coats to Tuchman Cleaners to clean and sort the coats for distribution.
Bob Gregory’s “Coats for Kids” campaign is a joint effort between Channel 13, Tuchman Cleaners and The Salvation Army to collect gently used coats for children in need across Central Indiana from Labor Day through October.

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