Coats for Our Community
This project began in 1994 as a vision of Blount County Sheriff Officer John “JJ” James as a way for Blount County residents to donate their new and used coats to pass on to others that are in need of a good warm coat.Officer James approached Blount County Fire Chief Doug McClanahan, Captain Jerry Phillips and Lieutenant Johnny Leatherwood for help to set the project in motion. After much thought the name Coats for Our Community became the project name.
The first year:
After many planning meetings the first coat collection was off and running. This effort was overwhelming, Blount County folks, as always, gave coats, probably a couple hundred coats. The coats were separated into kids, women’s, and men’s and displayed at Eagleton Middle School for pick-up by anyone needing a coat, the day was a great success. Several coats found new homes and the remaining coats donated to other charities.
Coats and Smoke Alarms (Safe and warm):
From the beginning, one thing was agreed by all involved, if one person was helped --- the project was a success. The agreement has also been --- only one question would be asked for the one in need to receive a coat ---- DO YOU HAVE A WORKING SMOKE ALARM? If you do not have a working smoke alarm the fire department will come to your house and install a smoke alarm at NO CHARGE.
From the first year of a few coats -- to today many things have changed. One thing that never changes --- Blount County folks are still giving. Over the last 14 years we have received and processed thousands of coats and passed on to our friends in need many thousands of coats. We have also installed hundreds of smoke alarms keeping our community safer and warmer. The season of 2012-2013, the program provided coats to over 2500 kids and adults. The number of people receiving coats continues to increase each year.
Coats are collected at many drop-off points in the County --- all fire stations, and many businesses. Coats are inspected by Firefighters and Coat volunteers. Each coat is inspected to make sure each is in good condition and clean. If dirty, coats are washed and dried in the fire station. All coats, after inspection are delivered to our main distribution center located at Blount County Fire Protection District - Station 7 at 5156 Sevierville Road. After reaching Station 7 all coats are checked in, sorted by size and hung on racks.
Families or persons needing coats are invited in to our station to “shop” for a coat (in the privacy of our coat rooms).
Each person is allowed to receive one heavy coat and one light weight coat.
Coats for Kids:
This past year the program put good warm coats on over 1800 kids. These coats were delivered to all schools in Blount County, the City of Alcoa, the City of Maryville, Greenback and Seymour. Each school is contacted for a list of needs. The coats are then delivered in the Coats for Our Community trailer. Students that need a coat come to the trailer to “shop” for that special coat. When available, tobaggans, gloves and socks are also given.
Support money that has been given for the project goes to buy new coats. Firefighters visit all major department stores in Blount, Knoxville, Sevier and other areas to find those after season bargains. Coats are purchased as needed but generally coats are purchased at greatly reduced prices after season. This purchasing strategy allows your support dollars to go as far as possible, helping us reach our goal to put as many kids as possible in a new coat.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
FINANCIAL SUPPORT - Any Amount!
SUPPORT ONE CHILD - $10
VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME Call (865)983-2133
Your Support $$ is always appreciated!
SUPPORT: (Help provide a child with a good warm Coat)
ANY AMOUNT (Your Choice) $____________
---Suggested amounts ---
Your Donation is a Tax Deductible.
Make Checks Payable to:
Blount County Fire (Coats)
or pay online: DONATE NOW
Blount County Fire Protection District
808 W Lamar Alexander PKWY
Maryville, TN 37801
For More Information:
Call Blount County Fire at (865) 983-2133
Thank You for Your Support!
Chief Doug McClanahan