It may be a bit difficult to start thinking about coats for winter weather after the extreme heat experienced this summer, but the Clinton Sampson Chamber of Commerce wants us all doing just that.
The 2nd Annual Chamber Coat Closet is scheduled to kick off on Tuesday, Nov. 1, and right now, Chamber officials are looking for sponsors as they prepare to make this year’s event a bigger success than last year. Sponsorship opportunities are available at three levels: Belt sponsor for $500; Zipper sponsor for $300 and a Button sponsor for $100.
“We were most pleasantly surprised last year with the response we received from the Chamber Coat Closet,” said executive director Lauren Balkcum. “We were hoping for at least 100 coats, possibly 200, but the community pulled together like they do so often and donated over 1,000 coats last year.”
“We distributed 1,036 coats to people in need in Sampson and surrounding counties,” attested the director.
Chamber Coat Closet co-chairman, Martin Jackson, of Star Communications, said, “We exceeded our expectations last year and we are looking to do even more this year with the help of the citizens of Clinton and Sampson County. I am continuously amazed at how generous the people of this county are to give to those who may be in need. That is a major reason for my returning home after college,” admitted Jackson.
“Our goal is to meet the needs of families who are not financially able to provide warm coats for themselves and their children,” stressed Balkcum. “That is why we are seeking sponsors currently.”
The Chamber director shared that First Citizens Bank, Progress Energy and Matthews Gifts had already committed to the project. “We have also applied for a grant from the South River Electric Membership Cooperative as they contributed greatly last year with a grant to help us get started in our first year,” noted Balkcum. She also included that the Kiwanis Club also assisted last year and she hopes that group will continue its support.
Balkcum explained that coats that are donated by individuals or organizations will be dispersed through the Department of Social Services, The Crisis Center, The Partnership for Children and the Sampson County Schools Migrant Educations Program.
The kickoff collection is slated to start at noon and go until 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Clinton’s City Market. As with last year’s kick off event, the chamber steering committee has planned another big afternoon of entertainment for all to enjoy. “We are hoping to have several dance troupes and the bands from across the county to come out and perform during the collection kickoff. We will also have popcorn and drinks as we did last year,” shared Balkcum.
The Chamber will be collecting new or gently used coats in all sizes from infants through adults, the entire month of November. Donation sites will be located all around the county.
“This is a great opportunity to give back to this great community that has given so much to us,” expressed Jackson.
Balkcum added, “This is a way for all of us to reach out and touch more lives than we could do ourselves. We hope as many as possible with participate in our Coat Closet Project this year,” concluded the chamber director.