Warm coats and blanket drives in South Georgia need help - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Warm coats and blanket drives in South Georgia need help

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

December 4, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Another sign of tough economic times, the cold weather is causing many people to suffer.

South Georgia charities and churches say they are seeing an unprecedented need for coats and blankets.

There are more people in need than items being donated.

Tanya Bigham with Even Start goes through the coats available through the One Coat Program at the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia.

 Bigham said "I've got somebody right now waiting for coats."

But there are only about two dozen jackets available at the Food Bank today, which supplies agencies in 20 counties.

 Food Bank CEO Brett Kirkland said "It appears the need is high this year. As soon as we get a load in from the fire stations, our agencies are getting those coats and taking them out and distributing them."

Kirkland says all the jackets available will be gone tonight, leaving many more people looking for warm clothing without.

This is the third year the Youth at First United Methodist Church in downtown Albany are collecting blankets for those in need. They usually hand the blankets out at Christmas, but people are saying they need them now.

Youth Minister Joel Diaz said " The neighbors coming from across the community coming here to have a meal. We see a lot of kids and families, and they need something to cover with. So we give them a brand new blanket. And that's what we are collecting."

The One Coat Program is also struggling to fill a need in the community.

Kirkland said "People needing to stay warm, and they need those jackets. So we are asking everybody if they will to dig through their closets. Purchase new jackets. We will take new or slightly used jackets."

Community leaders asking you to help others in need, trying to stay warm.

You can donate coats, jackets, sweatshirts, or any warm overclothing, at any of the Fire Stations in Albany or at the Central Monitoring headquarters in the 500 block of Pine Avenue.

You can donate new blankets at First United Methodist Church on Flint Avenue in downtown Albany.

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