The seventh- and eighth-graders at Coastline Christian Academy want the coat off your back. Or perhaps just your gently used coats and clean, used blankets.

The junior high students have launched a Coat and Blanket Drive in an effort to help people using the services at Transition House in Santa Barbara. To streamline the process for area residents, the students will be hosting a drive-through drop-off at the curb in front of the school at 5950 Cathedral Oaks Road (near Fairview Avenue) from 1 to 2 p.m. this Thursday, Dec. 15.

The Coat and Blanket Drive was the idea of the students who were looking for ways to be of service to the Santa Barbara community this Christmas. As the season turns and the weather holds its chill throughout the day and plummets down at night, the students expressed concern for those less fortunate. Acting on their own, they brainstormed ways they could tackle this issue and took the initiative by drafting their own flier, delivering it to the parent base at Coastline, peppering the campus with posters promoting the coat drive, and reminding students, parents and teachers to contribute.

“I am so proud of these students for seeing a need and taking action. This is an age when kids can often be absorbed in focusing on their own needs,” Coastline junior high teacher Sarah Ryan said. “This group really has a heart for making a difference in our community.”

“I’m glad that I can help Santa Barbara’s ever-growing population of homeless,” eighth-grader Jonathan Sloan said. “It’s also a good way to help people realize there are poor people everywhere, even right here in our local community.”

“Our seventh- and eighth-graders know that they are seen as school leaders by teachers and especially by our younger K-6 students,” Coastline Principal Mary Osgood said. “This spirit of servanthood sets such a good example for them to follow.”

Coastline Christian Academy is a K-8 co-educational, nondenominational Christian school serving the families of Santa Barbara and Goleta, and is an accredited member of WASC, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and ASCI, the Association of Christian Schools International.

— Kerry Graffy Mariea is the community and media relations coordinator for Coastline Christian Academy.