Project Overcoat campaign launched

Gently used coats sought by Kroger

Temperatures struggled to climb above freezing, Tuesday. The frigid air bit hard at DeKalb County resident, David Graves, who found warmth in a wool overcoat.

“This was one of those days that I definitely had to cover my head up,” said Graves, the director of media and marketing services with the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta.

Graves is part of the organization’s annual coat drive partnership, known as Project Overcoat, to make sure that others have that warmth from an overcoat on cold winter days.

“This is a perfect time that we’re having this,” he said. “This is when winter really begins.”

Project Overcoat kicks off Saturday, Jan. 7, nearly a year after a massive winter storm slammed the Southeast. The regional coat-and blanket-collection drive will continue through Saturday, Jan. 21.

Graves said the drive, which seeks to keep the needy warm, is being sponsored by Kroger, FedEx, FOX 5, Atlanta Mission, KISS 104.1, as well as the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta.

The campaign, he continued, aims to fill as many as 46,000 requests for new and gently used coats and blankets for disadvantaged and homeless adults and children throughout metro Atlanta.

“Last year, we collected about 32,000,” said Graves. “It’s increased this year because of the need in the community.”

The marketing services director said about 160 community agencies — including dozens in Clayton and Henry counties — will distribute the items within their respective communities.

Area residents are asked to participate by donating new or gently used coats and blankets in drop-off containers located at Kroger stores around metro Atlanta.

Graves said coats and blankets of all sizes and thicknesses will be accepted.

“It’s whatever people can get,” he said. “If they can reach into their closet, and there is a gently used jacket or coat, bring them on.”

Graves said those interested in volunteering for the effort can learn how to become volunteer sorters at the Project Overcoat distribution site, at The Carpenter’s House, 2355 Bolton Road, N.W., in Atlanta, Jan. 23-27.

To learn more about volunteering, visit: www.unitedwayatlanta.org/projectovercoat.