Students receive free coats ahead of Christmas

JACKSON, Tenn. — Only days before Christmas, every student at a local Headstart program is going home with a coat thanks to a coat drive set up by the community.

“Elizabeth Bryant called me, and said, ‘Anita Kay, how do we go about doing a coat drive?'” said Anita Kay Archer, assistant vice president of the Bank of Jackson. “And I said, ‘You and I meet and decide how many we need.'”

When the bank started taking donations, they were surprised by the response.

“We’ve had people come in and not bring one coat, they’ve brought, one, two, three. Somebody came in and brought 12 coats,” Archer said.

The donations did not stop there.

“You wouldn’t believe how many people I had call and say, ‘Do you need more boys’ coats, more girls’ coats, and exactly what size do you need?'” she said.

The Washington Douglas Headstart program needed 206 coats, to put on the backs of every one of their students.

“How many did we collect? Two hundred and forty one winter coats,” Archer said.

Organizers say they asked for gently used coats for this drive, but to their surprise, many that came in are brand new.

“Bubba Walker from Walker’s Dry Cleaners offered to dry clean all the gently used coats,” Archer said.

The leaders at Washington Douglas say this brings confidence to the students.

“You can go play outside and have fun and still be warm. That’s what we wanted to bring to Washington Douglas here with this coat drive,” Elizabeth Bryant, the assistant center coordinator, said.

“Washington Douglas students are going to be sporting these coats so proudly for this Christmas season,” Archer said.

Washington Douglas Headstart serves low-income children in the Jackson area.

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