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CAM coat drive keeps families warm

People were able to choose free coats, hats, gloves and socks for the upcoming cold weather

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CLOTHES— CAM provided coats and cold weather apparel for people in the community who could not afford to buy new winter clothes.

Coordinated Assistance Ministries (CAM) helped families prepare for winter last week on Nov. 19 at the Carver Community Center by hosting a coat drive that offered free coats, hats, gloves, and socks.

Melanie Waggoner, community resource coordinator and bookkeeper at CAM, said collecting the coats is a year-long community effort. CAM takes donations from a variety of individuals and organizations throughout the year.

Waggoner said students at Western Elementary assisted the coat drive by holding a “socktober” where students brought sock donations to school. She said having warm clothes and a new coat makes a big difference, especially to kids.

“I think having a nice coat to wear to school is helpful,” Waggoner said.

Davontez Elliott was looking for a coat to wear to school. He ultimately decided on a thick black coat with the Ohio State mascot printed on the back. Elliott said his first thought when he entered the Carver Community Center gymnasium was that there were some pretty nice coats.

“These types of programs really help those who aren’t as well off,” Elliott said. “I feel like people donating all this stuff is really nice, and it helps people out. It’s just like a little kick start to help you on your way.”

Elliott’s brother Mykell Mayfield said picking out a coat of his own made him feel “warm and happy.”


GIVING— Donated clothes and shoes are positioned on tables to be given away. Everything at the Helping Our Homies anniversary event was free to anyone in need.

The gymnasium was filled with racks of coats in various styles, colors, and sizes. A table on one side of the gym was heaped with hats and scarves, some hand-knitted, while another table at the opposite side of the room was filled with varying packages of socks.

Some organizations from the community had tables set up to offer other types of help. Adriane Minor represented Project Access, a volunteer group that helps people access affordable health care. She said the coat drive was a different experience than what she is used to.

“It’s different from healthcare,” Minor said. “You send them off to a doctor and then you never really have any more contact with them until they need you again, but here there’s instant gratification. You have something that can help them, and you see the smile when they leave.”

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Bona Vista also had a table set up to educate families about their Early Head Start program that serves pregnant women and children up to three years old. The program helps families with prenatal services, home visits, and center-based child care services for up to three weeks.

Jennifer Wilkinson, a staff member with Early Head Start, said parents with young children should consider the Early Head Start program because it is a helpful resource for families. Wilkinson said at least two families signed up to pre-apply to the program at the coat drive.

The stars of the coat drive, however, were the coats themselves. People wandered around the gym looking at the coats and trying them on for size.

One woman who attended the coat drive but asked for her name not to be published said the drive was scheduled at the perfect time and that she and her family are grateful.

“We are very happy they have this. This is wonderful,” the woman said. “It’s at the right time because it was cold last night. We appreciate it very much, and I’m sure we’re one of many people who feel that way.”

Lena Hall was another community member who attended the coat drive. She said she heard about the event on Facebook and thought it could help her family. She is raising four of her grandchildren, and she said money can get a little tight.


A HELPING HAND— Lena Hall and her family look through pairs of socks at the CAM coat drive. Hall said the coat drive helped her family this year.

Hall’s grandchildren Lilly and Alex both found coats and hats. Alex chose a black trench coat because he said he liked the wool feel of the fabric and the attached hood. Lilly chose a bright pink hat covered in soft, fuzzy fabric.

“I may be a 10th grader, but I like my pom poms,” Lilly said.

Hall said she is grateful her grandchildren were able to all find coats and other cold weather accessories. She said it has helped her family significantly this year.

“I think it is great they do this,” Hall said as she looked through pairs of socks. “It makes life a little easier.”