Coat drive keeps children in need warm through the winter

Published 2:48 pm Thursday, November 28, 2019

Local children in need of a little warmth will be able to find it, courtesy of coats collected by Coldwell Banker Coastal Rivers Realty.

For over a decade, the real estate agency has spearheaded Coats for Kids, calling on clients, other realtors, civic groups and the public at large to donate new coats or make cash donations to buy coats for children who may not have one of their own. Organized by realtor Diane Edwards, with assistance from Karen Broadway and Marty Smythe, delivery of coats started this week.

“Actually, it was an agent 13 years ago that had the idea, and we approached DSS (Department of Social Services) and Beaufort-Hyde (Partnership for Children), anything dealing with children, we approached, and they leaped on the opportunity because the children, especially foster children and those who come from the abuse shelter, they generally don’t have anything and nothing new,” Edwards said.

The effort has proven to be much appreciated by the recipients — Edwards shared the response of Alisa A. Greer, who works with Hyde County Hotline, the domestic violence hotline and shelter: “Your work providing the coats for these children has been such a blessing! Often the mothers are speechless that someone would take the time to do this for them. We are very grateful,” Greer wrote.

Edwards said she begins collecting for the coats before the end of the year for the following year, and each year, an anonymous donor helps seed the project with a generous donation.

“(The donor) gives it to me at the end of the year, so I can buy the coats when they’re on sale,” Edwards said.

COATS GALORE: Coldwell Banker Coastal Rivers Realtor Diane Edwards oversees the collection of coats upstairs at the Washington office. Coats are being collected until Dec. 5.

This year, Edwards also hosted a fundraiser at The Hackney to raise even more funds, but it’s been community response that’s continued to make the coat drive a success, she said.

“The success of the program has always been dependent on our realty companies in the area, as well as our clients and others in the communities we serve. The need for these coats seems to grow each year while the funding often does not,” Edwards said.

The Coats for Kids drive will continue until Dec. 5. Needed are coats for sizes as small as 3-month-olds and as large as XXL for teenagers, and they will all be delivered to the right fit.

“Every coat is distributed to a needy child,” Edwards said.

Those who’d like to donate new coats or contribute money to the effort can drop their donations off at four locations during business hours: at the main drop-off site at Coldwell Banker Coastal Rivers Realty, 239 W. Main St., Washington; Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce, 293 E. Water St., Belhaven; Riddick & Windley Ace Hardware, 253 Pamlico St., Belhaven, and Coldwell Banker Coastal Rivers Realty, 610-D Old Tar Village Road, Winterville.

For more information, leave a message for Diane Edwards at 252-495-8912.