The warmth a community brings

The Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce, executive director Kaitlin Norris and every individual or business that contributed to the eighth annual Coat Closet drive deserves not only a heartfelt thank you but a deserved pat on the back for bringing warmth to children and adults across our county.

One of the things most taken for granted is a coat. Many of us likely have two, three, four, maybe more in our closet. Some we hunker down in on brisk days, others sit staring back at us from the closet. If it’s cold, we just grab it, without thought of how fortunate we are to have one.

But for hundreds of youngsters and adults across Sampson, having a coat is a luxury they cannot afford, a warmth that often escapes them even on the coldest of days.

Thanks, though, to the generous hearts of many, little children and older adults will be able to snuggle inside a new or gently used coat this winter, wrapped not only in warmth but in the love of a community willing to give to those who aren’t as fortunate as many of us are.

The Chamber’s coat closet, a now annual event eight years strong, has continued to deliver on its promise to help those who cannot help themselves, by providing coats to schools, the Department of Aging and the Department of Social Services for distribution to those who need it the very most. The Chamber is also assisted in its distribution by the Sampson County Partnership for Children, UCare, the Duplin County Partnership for Children, the Eastern Baptist Association and the Salemburg Food Bank.

This year, the Chamber collected 1,000 coats from the 30 collection sites across Clinton and Sampson County. Since the drive’s inception, over 8,000 coats have found their way into the hands of individuals who now won’t have to feel the piercing cold as temperatures being to plummet.

Though, realistically, there are more needs for coats than any one drive can meet, what the Chamber and its supporters do with the Coat Closet makes a tremendous dent each and every year. And for that reason, the drive is always successful and always appreciated.

“Anytime we can help anybody out, in any way, with any amount, it’s a success,” Adkins said in a Friday Sampson Independent news article on the drive. “We are very fortunate people realize how important the gift of giving can be, even if it’s the gift of warmth.”

She is spot on with her assessment. Whether one coat or a thousand, every gift given makes a difference in the life of someone. Sometimes it’s toys for children at Christmas, sometimes it’s food on the table, and sometimes, like with the annual coat drive, it’s a means of ensuring that as many individuals as possible have a way to stay warm.

“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.”

They certainly do. And from us to all those who had a hand in making this year’s coat drive a success, we offer not only a thumbs up for the efforts but a tremendous thank you.