Throughout the next few weeks, the Chamber Coat Closet Committee is continuing to work diligently to distribute the donated coats prior to Christmas. As many of you know, we did not receive some of the grant funding we have been awarded in the past. While the news was disappointing because of the great need throughout Sampson and surrounding counties, it also gave us a new challenge and the opportunity to work together to accomplish our goal. In order to meet the demand, we have depended solely on business sponsorship and community donations. Through the great response, it has reconfirmed the willingness of the variety of individuals, businesses, organizations, school groups, and more… all working together in order to help those in need. What an honor it is to be a part of a county that truly “steps up to the plate” and responds to the needs of others.
So many school groups, womens clubs, dance teams, civic organizations and others have pulled together to collect coats for such a great cause, each group with their own goals for their donation. We cannot thank each of you enough for assisting with this project and your contribution.
As we are closing this year’s Coat Closet project, I encourage you to challenge yourself, your organization, and your business — how can you be involved with this project next year? One idea was brought to my attention by Wanda Coleman, owner of The Dance Shoppe and Tutu’s Too in Clinton. Mrs. Coleman called me prior to the coat closet kickoff event and said she wanted to help with this project; what came next was such an inspiration.
Ms. Coleman stated that she read about the Chamber Coat Closet Program in The Sampson Independent and instantly thought: “This is a wonderful opportunity to help others in our community. We have a wonderful target market and we should get involved!” Ms. Coleman offered incentives to her students, including one month free tuition, complimentary recital tickets, free costume for 2013 recital, free t-shirt, and the opportunity to purchase recital tickets in advance of regular ticket sales. Coleman expressesd “These incentives were approximately $150 value to The Dance Shoppe students and parents, but a priceless gift for others!”
Each time one of Mrs. Coleman’s students or parents brought in their coat(s) for donation, they let us know in the Chamber office and then received a “ticket” for each coat. That ticket was taken to the Dance Shoppe and entered into a drawing for the incentives. Of course, the more coats, the more “tickets,” the better their chances were of receiving an incentive.
Through this incentive program alone, it brought in “60 coats and a studio filled with excitement” exclaimed Coleman. “We would love to continue this incentive program! Working with the Chamber was effortless and we are thrilled to help others in our community.”
Thank you again to each of you that were able to donate a new or gently used coat to this year’s project; each of you have been such an inspiration to others and have given a gift that is priceless. This project is truly a community event that reaches so many. I encourage you to begin thinking aboutr next year’s project and how you can assist with “giving the gift of warmth” each winter through the Coat Closet? If you have questions about this year’s coat closet project, please give us a call at 592-6177.