NEWS CENTER Maine's 36th annual Coats and Toys for Kids Day will take place Saturday, December 1st.

The campaign started as a way to collect winter coats for families in Maine who couldn't afford them.

That need has only grown over the years.

There are two racks full of coats, courtesy of the Coats for Kids campaign, at the Salvation Army in Portland.

Maria Fernanda, who lives in Portland, was at the Salvation Army, Tuesday, picking out the perfect coat for her three-year-old daughter Alaina. Pink is their favorite color.

Fernanda works in the kitchen at the Salvation Army and volunteers her time there helping teach English as a second language. "Here in Maine, it's too cold. I don't have the money to buy clothes for my daughter."

Salvation Army Major Rhonda Ferreira says many people in Maine are struggling financially. "Every year thousands of people come to us hoping for winter coats for their kids and for themselves and fortunately year after year thanks to the support of the community and community partners we've been able to meet that need."

That support plays out every year throughout the month of December when people drop off gently used coats at Hannaford or Shaws locations. And on the first Saturday of December when people from all over the state come out to a Coats and Toys for Kids location to donate items as well.

Ferreira says "the generosity is incredible. It's both heartwarming and overwhelming to see all these coats come in and so many people come through our doors and to see the smiles on their faces when they get to go home with winter coats for the whole family."

Maria Fernanda is very grateful for the generosity of strangers. "The Salvation Army called me to come here and takes clothes. I'm so happy. Thank you so much."