Among the vendors at this year’s Czech Days will be the new area charity. A Warmer Day will be collecting coats for the upcoming winter on Aug. 5-6.
Dave and Valerie Conde of Clatonia founded the charity in August 2016. It distributes warm clothing to those in need, primarily coats. This will be their first year at Czech Days. For Dave, a native of Maryland, it will be his first time ever attending the festival.
“I’ve lived in Clatonia for three years and before that I lived in Cortland for three years, and for whatever reason we never went to Czech Days,” he said. “[My wife] is from Filley, so she’s been to Czech Days years ago.”
Conde said they plan to have their distribution truck parked near Sack Lumber Company on South Wilson Street. The Condes and other volunteers will be handing out water and information as well as taking donations.
The Clatonia-based charity focuses primarily on southeast Nebraska, with multiple drop-off locations in area cities and villages.
“We work wherever it’s needed,” Conde said. “We’ve done distributions in Lincoln, Beatrice, Omaha and direct distributions in countless towns.”
The Condes started the charity after a period of contemplation of how they could give back to the community.
“After months, possibly years, of discussing it, last year we decided we wanted to do coats and help people out with that,” Conde said. “When we first started, we thought it would be just the two of us giving away a few coats and didn’t realize everything that would go into it.”
The Condes incorporated their charity and created a board of directors. They began to gather volunteers and corporate support. In 2016, they gave away 800 coats.
“Our hope this year is to give away 3,500 coats,” Conde said. “And that’s not counting items that aren’t coats.”
The Condes decided to give away coats, he said, because they wanted to have a lasting contribution that wouldn’t involve money.
“Coats is what we felt we were supposed to do,” Conde said. “I guess you could say we felt called to do it, so we did.”
Donors are encouraged to contact A Warmer Day at (402) 480-7463 or visit awarmerday.org.