The long-range forecast indicates temperatures across Sampson County will begin to drop, and a chance for a snowflake is in the not so distant future. Thanks to the efforts of the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce and area businesses, more people are prepared for the upcoming cold weather.
The eighth annual Chamber Coat Closet drive, which began Nov. 1, concluded at the end of November. To date, according to Kaitlin Adkins, Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce director, just over 1,000 coats were collected or purchased through generous donations from individuals and local businesses and given to those in need.
“Anytime we can help anybody out, in any way, with any amount, it’s a success,” Adkins added. “We are very fortunate people realize how important the gift of giving can be, even if it’s the gift of warmth.”
During last year’s collection, the Chamber staff was able to collect 1,000 coats from the 30 collection sites. The coats are distributed throughout the county to those in need of warmth for the winter. According to Adkins, more than 8,000 coats have been collected over the last seven years.
“It is important for people to take part in our coat drive, so that families, but most especially children, have some warmth during the winter,” Adkins said. “I think most would be surprised how many requests we get for children, toddler especially.”
According to Adkins, additional coats needed were purchased with funds the Chamber received through monetary donations and grants.
“The annual coat drive is really important,” Adkins shared. “We have a lot of people who are in need during this cold weather and all of the donations help.”
Slated as the largest community service project done by the Clinton-Sampson Chamber, this project includes the collection of new and gently used coats in all sizes, ranging from infants to adults. These coats are then distributed to needy individuals. The Chamber is assisted in its distribution by the Sampson County Partnership for Children, UCare, Duplin County Partnership for Children, the Eastern Baptist Association, the Salemburg Food Bank and both Clinton City and Sampson County schools.
In addition to the partnerships the Chamber has with area organizations, there are several local businesses which help purchase coats by offering incentives to those who donate.
During the Chamber’s first coat drive, Adkins said there were 1,000 coats collected. Since that time, the number has more than doubled. Regardless of final numbers, she said the coat drive is a huge success.
“The first year, we collected and distributed over 1,000,” Adkins said. “We’ve had tremendous success, and we owe it all to the generosity of our local residents and local businesses. That being said, we encourage everyone to shop local and support your local businesses. Without the support of our local businesses and such a wonderful community, the Chamber’s Signature Coat Closet project would not be possible.”
With many local children not having adequate clothing for the cold months, Adkins said donating to the coat drive is of utter importance.
“I think about all those people on the street who don’t have appropriate warm clothes,” Adkins said. “Giving either a coat donation or monetary donation helps someone who is in need.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.