Realty hosts coat drive for 11th year

Published 8:38 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Over a 10-year span, more than 2,000 coats have been donated to keep the children of Beaufort County warm.

Coats for Kids is the work of Coldwell Banker Coastal Rivers Realty — an annual coat drive in which the company relies on donations of coats or cash from the general public, other realtors, clients and local civic organizations in partnership with Beaufort County Department of Social Services and the Hyde County Hotline’s domestic abuse service.

According to Coldwell Banker Coastal Rivers realtor and coat drive organizer Diane Edwards, this year, there is an increased need.

“The list was far larger this year than it was in previous years,” Edwards said.

Edwards works with DSS to get the number of coats needed for Beaufort County’s foster children, in the sizes needed.

“The sizes change every year. That’s what we go by. If we have any additional coats, we then take them to Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children or any other organization that is dealing with the welfare of children.”

Though the coat drive started earlier this month, for Edwards, it starts in the spring, when she can purchase nice coats on sale. For Laurel Miller, deputy director of Beaufort County DSS, the coats delivered to the agency are a lifeline.

“This Christmas there will be around 100 children in the custody of Beaufort County DSS that will benefit from the generosity of Coldwell Banker’s coat drive. Approximately 50 of these children are living with (a) relative or family friends who receive very little financial support to care for the children in their homes. This effort is especially beneficial for those children and caregivers,” Miller wrote in an email. “We are so thankful that Coldwell Banker continues to support the children in foster care in Beaufort County year after year. We have come to depend on them, and it is truly a blessing!”

Edwards said she was once told by a DSS employee that the coats collected are an “opportunity to wrap our children with love in a new coat,” a statement she said she continues to hold close to her heart.

“We often forget this piece of the population,” Edwards said. “I just think that the important thing is to remember these children — this is often the only new piece of clothing they get each year.”

Coats or cash donations can be made at four locations: Coldwell Banker’s downtown office at 239 W. Main St.; by appointment at the Winterville office; at Riddick & Windley Hardware in Belhaven; and at the Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call the Washington office at 252-975-8010.