Rep. Eric Watson has announced that he will begin his annual Coats for the Cold drive in Bradley County. Twenty-thirteen marks the 13th year that Rep. Watson has helped those in need in Bradley, Polk, and Meigs Counties.
“I truly believe that providing a child with a coat during these cold months will positively impact their self-esteem and self-worth," said Rep. Watson. "We are taught to care for those who are in need, especially our children. I believe the Coats for the Cold program is a great way for our community to come together for a great cause. All the experts agree this is a worthwhile initiative. When kids are loved, they do better. When their basic needs are met, they excel at life.”
In the last 13 years, the program has distributed more than 9,800 coats to children. Its success has been attributed to the outpouring of support from the public, churches, and civic groups who team with the program each year.
While this is the 13th year of the program, Rep. Watson is also excited to announce a new corporate partner is joining the program. "This is a community effort and I believe we all can play a part in making it a success,” said Rep. Watson. “That is why I am so proud to announce United Way is joining our cause and offering their location as drop-off point. I am thankful that United Way is opening their doors and helping to spread the word about this great cause.”
"We are excited and honored that Rep. Eric Watson has invited us to be part of this community coat drive," said Sarah Haratine of United Way of Bradley County. "This is a great annual tradition that is meeting an important need in our community."
Rep. Watson conceived of the idea over 12 years ago after observing several children playing outdoors in 40-degree weather without coats. He approached their parents and asked why the children were not adequately clothed and learned the families simply lacked the financial resources necessary to purchase warm winter coats for each member of the family.
Individuals or groups wishing to participate may bring new or used good quality winter coats to one of the drop-off sites:
Any Bradley County BB&T Banking location
United Way at 85 Ocoee Street SE
Village Tire Center at 232 Third St. S.W.
County Trustee Mike Smith office at the Downtown Courthouse.
Family Tire at 215 Inman Street West
Logan-Thompson at 30 2nd St. N.W.
Rep. Eric Watson's office at 2161 APD 40