Local News

Raleigh family among beneficiaries of Christmas 'Coats' drive

Posted December 13, 2012
Updated December 14, 2012

WRAL held a telethon on Dec. 9, 2011, to encourage people to donate to the Salvation Army's Coats for the Children campaign.

— Raleigh mother Shediah Palmer never thought she would need help from the Salvation Army of Wake County. 

In fact, until recently, the college graduate who worked a job in human resources was used to telling other people how they could get help in times of need. 

Then her marriage fell apart. Soon after, she lost her well-paying job. 

"Things really started to unravel," Palmer said. "I was holding on as best as I could." 

Hoping for a happy ending to a difficult year, Palmer visited the Salvation Army recently hoping to get help providing Christmas gifts for her 3-year-old son Aiden. 2016 Coats for the Children DONATE: Coats for the Children

"I'm used to telling people about how the help they can get as opposed to receiving the help," Palmer said. "You never know when it's going to be you that's on the other end, the receiving end of things."

Palmer's story is a familiar one for Paige Bagwell, the executive director for development at the Salvation Army of Wake County. 

"It's the reality of how quickly times can change and how quickly their lives change and how quickly things can spiral out of control," she said. "They don't know where to turn."

Aiden Palmer is one of about 9,000 children the Salvation Army of Wake County hopes to help in 2012 with toys and clothes. Volunteers have been busy sorting toys and clothes in recent weeks, but the need is greater than ever. 

The Salvation Army of Wake County still needs winter clothes for 1,600 children. As of Thursday, with its Christmas gift distribution event less than a week away, volunteers say they don't have enough to meet the need. 

Haven Sink, the charity's director of public relations, said Tuesday that they are hoping for a miracle. Sink said that, this year, there are more than 8,700 children in the Salvation Army's local Angel Tree program – about 900 more than last year.

Raleigh family among beneficiaries of Christmas 'Coats' drive Christmas 'Coats' drive helps Raleigh family

It's a similar challenge for the Durham Rescue Mission, which is in need of 12,000 new, unwrapped toys for its Annual Christmas Community Toy Giveaway.

"(Donations have) been less this year," the mission's chief executive officer, Rob Tart, said. "We've got probably a third of where we want to be.

WRAL's annual Coats for the Children drive benefits the Salvation Army. Last year, WRAL collected 9,000 coats and raised nearly $65,000 to buy new, warm winter clothing for children in need. In Wake County, 1,300 toys were donated. Since 1989, WRAL has collected nearly 134,000 coats and raised $1,224,800 to provide winter clothing for Salvation Army families. Donations are accepted online, via text message or in person until Dec. 31 at participating Jiffy Lube and First Citizens Bank locations.

On Friday, WRAL will air two special telethons – from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 7 to 8 p.m. and callers who donate during that time will be eligible for special thank-you gifts.

For the Salvation Army, donations can be made online or dropped off until Dec. 19 at the Salvation Army's Toy Shop Warehouse, at 2116-D New Bern Ave. in Raleigh.

Donations to the Durham Rescue Mission can be dropped off at the mission's 1201 E. Main St. or 507 E. Knox St. campuses, and Walmart stores in Durham, Hillsborough and Roxboro are holding toy drives on Dec. 15.

They can also be dropped off at Mark Jacobson Toyota on Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard in Durham until Dec. 17.

The Salvation Army is also hoping to see an increase in Red Kettle donations, which will help pay for any gifts still needed after the gift drive ends Wednesday.

Kettles are located across Wake County, including Walmart stores, Harris Teeter stores, North Hills shopping center, Triangle Town Center and Cary Towne Center.


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  • westernwake1 Dec 14, 2012

    The WRAL's annual Coats for the Children program is great event that helps the community. I urge people to give. Keep in mind that many children receive these coats that very much need them to be warm.

  • froggygirl Dec 14, 2012

    Don't begrudge this woman. These days, any of us could need help. I've been there. Some people implied that I was lazy--nope, just unemployed and looking hard for work. I'm doing all right now, but I really feel for her. Why doesn't someone give this lady a break and help her find a professional position?

  • working for deadbeats Dec 14, 2012

    Why are people having children and families that they darn well know they can't afford to raise. I pay full price day care and next to the full price check box is a little credit card machine for benefit card swipes. Nice...

  • anne53ozzy Dec 13, 2012

    I give to the Coats program every year. It is so important that kids, and especially teens, have something to wear that they are proud of.

  • raleighlynn Dec 13, 2012

    I would encourage everyone to be on the lookout for families that might fall in the cracks, too proud to ask for help, but needy nonetheless. I can remember many years ago (30) when two of my children had to share one coat. The child without a coat was bundled in sweatshirts. Dinner was rice and Koolaid. Things got better, but I am always on the lookout for families in need. They are right in your own neighborhood.

  • superman Dec 13, 2012

    Yes well...in a perfect world, and easier said than done, especially since so many people have to live paycheck to paycheck. Bewitched

    People have no problem with $150 a month cable tv, a couple cell phones, 2 or 3 cars and then have to live week to week. I am financially independent. I worked two jobs 60 hours a week for over 20 years so please dont expect sympathy. Most people just dont know the difference in what they need or what they want.

  • BubbaDukeforPresident Dec 13, 2012

    It's sad that we can't use the word Christmas or Urban "Ministries" or North Carolina National Guard Family Support Group - all of whom we've helped this year, because we might offend someone. Who are these people who are offended that people choose to help others? What is our nation coming to when our 'leaders' can tell us what to eat, what we can say, who we can hire, how much of our money we can keep, and now who we can help? Why anyone would choose to give up freedoms in return for the government taking over our personal responsibilities is reason enough to take away their right to vote and their right to receive tax-payer assistance.

  • superman Dec 13, 2012

    My house is paid for. I have 3 cars that are all paid for. I dont owe anything on my credit card and I have a 3 figure amount in my savings account. I get cash back on my credit card several times a year. If I need or want anything I shop at the thrift stores. I "ain't" too proud to save money. I like wearing a coat that looks new that was only $5. Waste not--want not! You make bad choices when you spend all or more than you have and dont save for tomorrow.

  • Bewitched Dec 13, 2012

    "....People would be so much better off if they stayed out of debt, cut up their plastic money, and put away money to get them through a rough patch. - whatelseisnew"

    Yes well...in a perfect world, and easier said than done, especially since so many people have to live paycheck to paycheck.

  • trhendersonnc Dec 13, 2012

    If we can find fault with someone in dire straits, then we can reassure ourselves it would never happen to us. Then again, some people always make the exact right choices so bad things never happen to them.