SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A lot of children in the Coastal Empire will have a new winter coat just in time for the coldest weekend of the season so far thanks to the Canady’s Coats for Kids coat drive that WTOC viewers supported.
Michael Hamilton saw the load of coats packed into every corner of his car and knew what the reaction would be when he returned to the Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club with them.
“82 kids come every day for virtual learning and right now, when I pull up, they’re going to look out the window, they might just run right out of class and be waiting at the door, smiling and happy, cheerful. Like another Christmas Day,” said Michael Hamilton, Program Director at the Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club.
The Callen Club was the first organization in a four-county area to receive a donation through Canady’s Coats for Kids, a coat drive held for the first time this year by Canady’s Heating and Air in partnership with the United Way of the Coastal Empire.
In more than a month of collections at drop off points, including WTOC, the drive yielded 1,000 coats that will now be distributed through local church and youth organizations to families in need.
“Very inspiring I would say. Especially in a year that has been so difficult, to see the city and the county respond the way they have, it’s been amazing,” said Fred Canady, CEO of Canady’s Heating and Air.
“The timing is perfect. It’s really cold. Families need this bit of help. Children need these coats,” said Brynn Grant, CEO of the United Way of the Coastal Empire.
“With COVID and all the restaurant closures and that sort of thing, I see a tremendous need. And the response has been just tremendous.”
The first coats went out to the community Wednesday - 220 packed into a car headed back to the Effingham Service Center, which will provide them to families that request one.
And already this week, Hamilton has seen the need for the 150 coats that went to the Callen Club.
“One kid, he came in this morning, and he just had a little t-shirt on. He didn’t have a jacket. It’s going to do him good. He’s probably going to grab the first two coats he sees.”
Soon, similarly warming stories will be heard all across Chatham, Effingham, Bryan and Liberty Counties.
“It’s inspiring. It’s what we hope everyone will do. How can we make a positive influence?”
“It’s been cold this winter. This weekend is going to be really cold. So, I think it’s just in time.”
Fred Canady has already decided that he will continue the coat drive next year, as well as his partnership with the United Way.