Coat drive in time for cold weather

By Justin Boron

When the cold wind stings people this winter, Patty Traber hopes they will remember the many children who don't have coats.

Some underprivileged children must roam the playground without ample protection from the chilly winds and the inclement weather that hits Georgia between December and February, she said.

The thought of this scenario prompted her to organize a new coat drive in Clayton and Henry counties through the Metro South Association of Realtors, Community Service Committee.

Heading up the association's community service board, Traber aims to distribute 400 coats to local children in need.

"It might be a modest goal, but it's certainly obtainable," she said.

From today until January, the group will be collecting gently used coats and distributing them to local agencies.

At the News Daily, which is a drop off location, jackets are overflowing the cardboard receptacles as Coats for Kids prepares to make its first pick up and distribution.

Within the next two weeks, about 80 children will receive a coat, Traber said.

But the program still needs a boost if it is going to reach its goal for the winter, Traber said.

The group is encouraging fellow realtors to donate a coat for every house they close on through January, she said.

Co-organizer Rosemary Griffin said the need for the charity program is evident in the area's classrooms.

"Anybody who has had a child go through the school system can see there are kids with needs," she said.

With high temperatures in the 60s and lows in the 30s, winter has begun to take hold, making the need for coats all the more urgent, said Karen Devonshire, another organizer.

Weather forecasters at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City have said they are expecting a wet winter as well.

"I just hope everyone can donate something," Devonshire said.

Traber said the idea for gathering coats came from her underlying philosophy that all people are inherently good.

"They just don't have the chance to show it sometimes," she said. "Donating coats is something everyone can relate to."