Local Program Helping To Keep Families Warm - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/13/04-East Texas

Local Program Helping To Keep Families Warm

The cooler weather has all of us looking for a way to stay warm this weekend.  For most that means grabbing our favorite coat before heading out the door, but there are many East Texas children that would be forced to go without this winter if it weren't for one local program.

Natasha Jackson knew it was going to be cold outside Saturday morning.  She came prepared.  She spent more than an hour waiting in line outside the Good Samaritan Outreach Center in Tyler, so her kids would be too.

"They grow so quickly and the coats they wore last year are too small for them, so we need new ones"

Natasha and hundreds of other East Texas families are getting new coats this year thanks to the "Coats for Kids" program.  A program dedicated to giving new coats to East Texas children.

"This is something that helps take the slack off you, to be able to have people that are able to donate coats for your kids, it's really good," said Natasha.

Over the last 18 years the program has given away nearly 65,000 coats.  All going to families in need.

"Most of these families have 4-5 kids and to go out and have to buy 4-5 coats.. they just can't do it," said volunteer Don Barron.  "They would spend $40-$50 on each coat and they can come here and get it for free."

Volunteers say helping families makes them feel good, but the kids make them feel even better.

"When you watch them, you watch them put a coat on and they like it and you ask them if they like it and they smile and say 'yea', that's enough that's what we want."

For parents, a smile and a new coat is worth the wait.

"I enjoyed getting to see them come out with their new coats on and see big grins on their faces," said Natasha.  "It's something that really puts a smile on your face whenever you get to see them.. the less fortunate being able to come and get them a coat."

The program hopes to give away 4,000 coats this fall.  If your child is in need of a coat, you can still contact the Good Samaritan Outreach Center.  And if you'd like to donate coats, you can do that by going to the PATH office in Tyler, or by dropping them off at the KLTV studios in downtown Tyler.

Chris Gibson, reporting

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