The cause has been dubbed “Warm Hands, Loving Hearts,” which can be found on Facebook by searching the same name. In less than two weeks, more than 250 people have clicked that they “like” the effort and the number continues to grow each day as Richelle Carter, Kim Collins, Mandy Reese and Lori Schmidt work to bring support to their idea.
“We may not be able to save every kid in the city, but we can keep them warm,” Schmidt said.
Interestingly, it was a Facebook conversation that began the coat drive when Carter posted about an elementary school child without a coat on a recent cold morning.
“We take that for granted,” Schmidt said. “I have three boys and a daughter and if my daughter doesn’t have a coat that morning, I’ll throw on her brother’s coat because we have plenty.”
Schmidt, whose family owns Lola Salon in Villa Rica, offered to provide her business as a collection point for coats, scarves, gloves and any other warm clothes that people were willing to donate. Before the week was out others had jumped on board so that collection points now include Swirls Unique Gifts, A Perfect Petal, Papa John’s, Villa Rica City Hall and ACRA, and coats are already beginning to pile up for delivery to local schools the first of next month.
“I’m big into social networking to get the word out and so I put it on Facebook to bring your coats to Lola and the next day we had a woman bring in a handful,” Schmidt said. “To God be the glory. We don’t really take credit for it when the Holy Spirit speaks to us to do something good.”
Though the first deadline for coat delivery is Nov. 30, Collins said as long as their is a cold child in the city they would continue to collect coats and other clothes of all sizes throughout the winter. It’s a philanthropic effort they plan to continue each year during the cold months.
The coats will be disbursed through school counselors who are creating a list of those kids in need and their coat sizes.
“We’ll take everything we have at the end of the month and then do it on an as-needed basis the rest of the winter season. Then, whatever we have left over at the end of the year, we’ll store for next year,” Collins said.
In addition to children in local elementary and middle schools, coats of all sizes are being sought because some of the students may have younger siblings who don’t have a coat as well.
“We’re going to try to put coats on as many kids as we can,” Collins said. “We’re just starting with the schools.”
Anyone with school-age children in need of a coat can call Lola Salon at 770-456-9444 or make contact through the Facebook page.