On Monday morning, when students in Sampson County waited for the school bus, temperatures were in the 30s. Many of those kids waited alongside the road in the cold without a coat to keep them warm. The Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce is beginning their annual coat drive that helps combat the problem many kids, and adults, face every winter.
The 6th annual Chamber Coat Drive will begin Nov. 1 and continue throughout the month of November, with donations ending Nov. 30. Over the last five years, since the implementation of the drive, the Chamber has been able to collect and distribute more than 6,300 coats. Last year alone, there were 1,250 coats collected.
According to Laura Deans, executive director of the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce, the coat drive is an excellent way for the community to get involved in giving back and help someone who may be in need.
“The Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce looks forward to the involvement of the community to assist the committee with collecting and distributing coats for such a strong need,” Deans said. “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.”
Coats can be dropped off at one of the drop off sites located throughout Sampson County. Participating sites can be found at www.clintonsampsonchamber.org.
The Chamber accepts new or gently used coats as a donation. Deans said coats of all sizes are accepted. The Chamber does a lot of distribution with the local schools, so Deans said the Chamber likes to get more coats for children.
According to Deans, the Coat Closet Project began in 2010 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.
“While the majority of the families served are residents of Sampson County, the project will assist any family that requests a coat from this initiative,” Deans said. “The Chamber Coat Closet’s goal is to meet the needs of families who are not financially able to provide warm coats for themselves and their children.”
The Chamber Coat Closet is committee run by Chamber members that volunteer to assist in this program. The success of the project, Deans said, is in part due to the efforts of those members who volunteer their time.
“Throughout the few years, so much has been accomplished because of their willingness to serve and assist,” Deans said. “We are striving together to help those families who could use the help.”
A fundraising will be held Oct. 22 from 4:30-9 p.m. at Sweet Frog. A portion of the proceeds from the night will be donated to the Coat Closet.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.