In a couple of months, Old Man Winter will be bringing coldness to the area and Byron McIntyre is helping fight the cold through Operation Warm, an initiative to collect coats and winter clothing for the needy.
Under the direction of McIntyre, a collection drive is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Sampson Center, 808 Barden St., Clinton. In addition to coats, McIntyre is seeking mittens, gloves and scarfs. Donations for adults will be accepted, but he would like the primary focus to be placed on children. Any monetary donations will be used to purchase coats.
McIntyre is a family service specialist for the local Head Start program and took it upon himself to have the coat drive. He was motivated to have the drive after talking with a parent about their financial difficulties and preparing for the winter.
“I have a heart for children and a heart for people,” he said. “I figured if this one parent is brave enough to speak to me and tell me what she’s facing, of course there’s more people in the county that probably struggling with the same issue.”
He said a lot of people lack the resources to stay warm in the winter or family members they can rely on for help. McIntyre believes the area is a close-knit community he hopes many will show up to help the less fortunate.
“I really want to help people like her, who don’t have coats or can’t afford to have items for the winter,” he said.
To help make the drive a success, he’s currently seeking volunteers to help with preparation and collection process.
“Volunteers are more than welcome to join the board and help out with coat drive and to help run the stations,” he said.
McIntyre mentioned how people often show more more love during the holiday season. He believes the coat drive, which scheduled several days before Thanksgiving, is a good way to start the season.
“What better way to welcome in the holiday spirit or the holiday cheer from each of our members in the community,” he said. “If you help someone, in return you’re going to be blessed and you’re going to have more opportunities and more doors open up for you.”
While discussing his beliefs about giving back to help people in need, he mentioned violent incidents in the area.
“We need to get back into the habit of helping each other, instead of hurting each other,” he said. “That’s my mission. I don’t know how far it’s going to go, but I have faith that once it’s starts and if it’s a good success, it will be a good thing for the city.”
For more information about the coat drive or volunteer opportunities, contact McIntyre at 910-620-8810.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.