There is a slight chill in the air, which means it’s time for the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce to begin their annual coat drive that helps keep many kids, and adults, warm as they face the cold months of winter.
The 8th annual Chamber Coat Drive began last week and continue throughout the month of November, with donations ending Nov. 22. Over the last seven years, since the implementation of the drive, the Chamber has been able to collect and distribute more than 7,300 coats. Last year alone, more than 1,000 coats were collected or purchased through generous donations from individuals and local businesses.
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.
“The annual coat drive is really important,” Kaitlin Adkins, executive director of the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce, shared. “We have a lot of people who are in need during this cold weather and all of the donations help.”
According to Adkins, the coat drive is an excellent opportunity for the community to get involved in giving back and helping someone who may be in need.
“While you are out and about in the community, look for our boxes and drop off any old coats that don’t fit or you are looking to get rid of,” Adkins explained. “There are families and children in need of them to keep warm this winter.”
The Coat Closet Project began in 2009 as a program to assist those in need each winter. The coats are donated by individuals and organizations, and dispersed through a variety of partnerships throughout Sampson and surrounding counties. Coats have been distributed in Cumberland, Harnett and Duplin counties throughout the years.
Once collections begin, the community is asked to drop off new or gently used coats for both children and adults at one of the 30 collections sites across the county.
During the Chamber’s first coat drive in 2009, Adkins said there were 1,000 coats collected. Since that time, the number has more than doubled. Regardless of the final numbers, the Chamber director says the coat drive is greatly needed and beneficial to many people.
“I think about all those people on the street who don’t have appropriate warm clothes,” Adkins shared. “Giving either a coat donation or monetary donation helps someone in need.”
Each year, Adkins said the Chamber looks forward to the involvement of the community to assist the collection committee with collecting and distributing coats.
“This is truly a community effort in which we are accomplishing the mission that we unite those that realize that through the Chamber, they can accomplish collectively what no one of them can do individually,” Adkins said.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.