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Charity coat drive under way

ALBANY -- An event designed to help children stay warm during the winter months is gearing up and officials say they are hoping to collect 2,000 coats before it's over.

The One Warm Coat drive is an annual event sponsored by Central Monitoring and the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia.

The program got under way Thursday when officials began distributing collection boxes at each of the fire stations throughout the city and county, Central Monitoring spokesperson Amanda Matthews said.

"Obviously our goal is to ensure that no one goes cold for lack of a warm coat through the winter months," she said. "There are those in the community that don't have a warm coat and this is our effort to cut those numbers."

Anyone with a new or gently used coat, preferably for children -- although they will take adult coats as well -- is asked to drop the jacket off at any fire station, the Foodbank of Southwest Georgia, or Central Monitoring.

Businesses who wish to have a collection box can call the One Warm Coat hotline at (229) 434-1176 and one will be delivered.

"The program is an easy way for all of us to pass along coats and jackets that we no longer need," Central Monitoring Owner/President Judy Randle said. "Our donations of something so simple and so essential may very well turn out to be the best holiday gift received by many people in our community."

Once collected, the coats will be distributed to those in need by officials at the foodbank, Matthews said.

Last year, the event collected 1,700 coats, she said. This year, organizers hope to collect more than 2,000.