Ravenna –   Thanks to Fortis College in Ravenna, nearly 500 Portage County residents now have new winter coats to help them ward off the winter chill. With the help of students, staff and several community partners, the campus collected 480 new or gently-worn winter coats that were given to area residents during Fortis College’s 3rd Annual Coat Giveaway.

In addition to the winter coats, hoodies, vests, shirts, gloves, hats and other cold weather items were handed out during the event.

“Many children were so happy to have a coat, they wouldn’t take them off once they tried them on,” said Sonya Hartburg, Fortis College Campus President. “One mother told us, ‘Thank you so much for doing this. You’ll never know what this means to us.’ That was very heart-warming.”

The campus was thrilled by the turnout and was pleased it was able to help nearly 500 fellow members of the community prepare for the winter months. “We had about 20 volunteers from Fortis, Hope Community Church, Passion Church, and Wal-Mart here to assist everyone who stopped in. We even had a couple visiting from India who worked with us – many thanks to them all for pitching in to help others,” added Jere Shafer from Hope Community Church .

Fortis College in Ravenna launched the Coat Giveaway in 2011 after collecting 300 winter coats. Demand was so high, campus officials and church representatives had to rush out and purchase nearly 100 more. Last year, Fortis handed out 400 coats and this year, after receiving donations from Hope Community Church, Reed Memorial Library, Passion Church, Streetsboro Flea Market, the Streetsboro Wal-Mart and campus students and staff, the total was hiked to 480.

“It was our most successful event ever,” said Fortis-Ravenna HR Manager Melissa Koher, who organized the giveaway. “It’s a great way to show support to the community that has supported our educational mission for years.”

Previously Bohecker College, Fortis College has been part of the Ravenna community since 1922. One of the oldest continuously operating private colleges in Ohio, the school became Fortis College in April 2010.  For consumer information, call 330-297-7319.