Carrying on a tradition that has made an impact and met a need in the lives of many local children and adults over the past three years, the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce is once again gearing up to hold its fourth annual Chamber Coat Closet project
“It’s kind of like a community service project for us,” said Janna Bass, executive director of the Chamber. “It’s a way to give back.”
Although coats will not begin to be collected for another couple of months, the Chamber is calling on local businesses and organizations to join them now in giving back, specifically making sure that fellow Sampsonians stay warm this winter.
Through the Chamber Coat Closet project, the Chamber is offering sponsorship opportunities. For $500 businesses can become belt sponsors, for $300 zipper sponsors, and for $100 button sponsors.
“The money from the sponsorships is used to buy coats,” explained Bass. “There are some organizations that will tell us target sizes that they know they need so the sponsorship money makes it possible for us to buy coats specifically for those kids.”
Along with helping others in the community, businesses that become sponsors will also receive recognition for their involvement in the project through various marketing avenues, including social media, radio, newspaper, and more. Belt sponsors will also be featured on billboards.
The deadline for sponsorships is Friday, Sept. 27 by 5 p.m. for marketing purposes. Sponsorship forms are available at the Chamber office as well online at www.clintonsampsonchamber.org.
With sponsors in place, the project is scheduled to start Friday, Nov. 1 with a kickoff event at the Chamber office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“It’s going to be a more laid-back event here at the office,” noted Bass, explaining that throughout the day locals can drop by, drop off their coats, and enter to win a variety of door prizes.
“The number of coats you donate will determine how many tickets you get for the door prizes,” Bass pointed out.
Last year, “we collected 85 coats on the kick-off day,” said Bass, “This year, we really want to collect 100. That’s our goal.”
After the initial kick-off event, coats will continue to be collected throughout the month of November.
In total, 1,336 coats were collected and distributed during last year’s Chamber Coat Closet, surpassing the Chamber’s goal of 1,200 coats.
“We were so excited to meet that goal and that it just kept growing,” recalled Bass, mentioning that the project was a little more challenging last year since the grants that the Chamber had applied for didn’t come through.
However, the local community came through to help their neighbors. “It was truly a community effort,” Bass added.
Whether this year’s grants come through or not, the Chamber hopes the community will step up again this year. “We’re hoping and anticipating that it will go as well if not better this year.”
Looking ahead to the November project, Bass shared that “we’ll be collecting new and gently used coats in all sizes, infants through adults…Our greatest need is kids’ coats.”
Locals can drop off their coats at the Chamber office as well as numerous other locations — approximately 30 — throughout Sampson County including sweetFrog, Coharie Country Club, BB&T in Roseboro, Harrells town hall, and many more.
Once collected, the Partnership for Children, Clinton City Schools, Sampson County Schools, and other organizations help the Chamber distribute the coats throughout Sampson County.
“We encourage the community to get involved and drop off their coats to help someone in Sampson County stay warm this winter,” said Bass. “It’s an investment back into the community.”
For more information about the Chamber Coat Closet, please call 910-592-6177 or visit www.clintonsampsonchamber.org.
The Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce is located at 414 Warsaw Road in Clinton.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .