GRAFTON—Each year, the Tygart Valley United Way and Taylor County Family Resources (TCFR) team up to collect warm outerwear and coats for those in need in the community.
The Tygart Valley United Way has been hard at work collecting new or gently worn coats and other winter wear as part of their Warm Coats Warm Hearts Winter Clothing Drive since October.
“As we approach winter in West Virginia, temperatures drop, and our neighbors who cannot afford weather-appropriate clothing often go without,” said Tygart Valley United Way Community Impact Director Emily Swain. “There are individuals and families who depend on this collection to stay warm, safe and healthy.”
Warm Coats Warm Hearts is the United Way’s annual campaign that seeks to provide outerwear for individuals within the communities that the organization serves.
“As you can imagine, the strain of COVID-19 has substantially increased the need of our neighbors, and these donations helped ease the burden of staying warm and safe,” Swain voiced. “Having appropriate, seasonal clothing could be the difference in accessing food, going to the doctor or getting a job.”
Last year, through the generosity of individuals and organizations, the drive brought in more than 2,500 items that were used to help keep residents warm during the coldest months of the year.
“The need for winter coats or warmer jackets might not seem too great for some, but for others it is something they struggle to provide for themselves or their families,” revealed Taylor County Family Resources Director Cathy Coontz-Griffith. “We are happy to be a part of this campaign along with our friends at the United Way to help keep our community members warm this winter.”
Once cold weather gear is collected, it is distributed to community partners to be passed out to residents in need.
“Over the last few years, the program has grown so much. Anyone can still donate items to us, all they have to do is just drop them off,” shared Coontz-Griffith.
This year, because they have seen an increase in need, Taylor County Family Resources will be accepting more applications that in previous years.
“Last year, we were only able to accept 50 applications, but this year, we are doubling that number and 100 applications for assistance of a coat of hoodie will be accepted,” she noted.
Anyone in need should submit their application, which can be found on page A6 of this edition of the Mountain Statesman, as soon as possible by mailing it to the TCFR office at 105 Beech Street, Grafton WV 26354.
Alternately, assistance can be received by visiting the TCFR office during regular business hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., unless otherwise posted on the organization’s Facebook.
Once an application is approved, the applicant will be notified by a member of TCFR to schedule a time for their coat to be picked up.
“Applications will be review and approved based on need and availability of coat sizes,” Coontz-Griffith noted.
The 2021 Warm Coats Warm Hearts Winter Clothing Drive will continue through December 31, and Coontz-Griffith said that they will accept applications until Tuesday, January 4.
Additional questions can be directed to TCFR by calling 304-265-6838.