Students leading coat drive effort

Published 12:07 am Friday, December 5, 2014

NATCHEZ A local group of students is aiming to bring coats and sweaters to those in need throughout the community.

The Natchez 4-H Club will host its third annual “Coat, Sweater and Blanket Drive” Saturday, but only for those in need of warmth during the winter season.

A concerned Natchez High School senior, Jasmine Winding, was at a bus stop some time ago when she noticed several children did not have sufficient coats to keep them warm.

Email newsletter signup

After donating two coats of her own the next morning, Winding approached her 4-H leader, Hattie Harris, about collecting and distributing coats and sweaters to the needy.

“Sometimes, people just need certain things,” Winding said. “Some people don’t have hats to go on their head or gloves for their hands to keep them warm.”

The Natchez 4-H Club has colleted coats since October for all ages. The club will distribute them from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Farmer’s Market on St. Catherine Street.

NHS senior Constance King joined 4-H after seeing the good the club has done for the community.

“I was one of the children that needed a coat,” King said. “I didn’t like being around people when I was little, but after being with (Winding) and seeing everything they did, I decided to join.”

4-H volunteer leader Debra Smith said when her daughter, Winding, saw a need, they decided to put a plan in motion.

“Because of my daughter, and other 4-H participants, we have been able to gather coats from other clubs within the community,” Smith said.

Winding said she hopes those who are in need of a coat come to the Farmer’s Market Saturday.

“Some people feel bad if they need help, but I don’t want the people in need to feel that way,” Winding said. “Helping someone is helping someone.”

Parents must bring their children for sizing in order for them to get coats.

“We have a lot of kid coats,” Smith said. “We would like for parents to bring their kids to see if the coat fits before we distribute them.”

Grace Cleaners have partnered with the Natchez 4-H club this year to clean used coats and for the first time. The club will also provide blankets for families.