Jellico gives away free coats to those in need

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JELLICO, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Hundreds of winter coats, scarves, hats and gloves were set out for people to take as needed during Jellico's third annual "Coats for the Cold" distribution day Saturday.

"I got a coat and a tobaggan, that's all I need," said Johnny Bowen.

Bowen said he and his wife are on a fixed income, and said the coat drive really helps them out.

"Well, the trailer right now is $251.17 a month, and by the time you pay the trailer payment and the electric bill, what have you got left? You know what I'm saying? And if you can get anything like this, hey, that helps 100 percent," said Bowen.

It also helps Jeannie Snyder and her family.

"We needed coats and stuff for the kids this winter and this is a really a help, because there's no way we could afford it with no jobs or anything right now," said Snyder.

Organizers collected the coats for the past month at various locations around town, and made sure they were ready to go for distribution day.

"We've washed them. Some ladies in the community have all helped - and we washed all the coats," said Doris Stiers, who organized the event.

It didn't take long for Chyann Long to find one she liked:

"It's black and it has grey fur around the hood," said Long.

Doris Stiers said she's grateful to everyone who donated a coat to make the giveaway possible. Those picking out jackets are thankful, too.

"Times are getting hard now. Stuff is going up and you can't afford to buy it and it's just rough - and anything you can get for free, get it!" said Doris Powers.

Stiers said anything that wasn't given away Saturday will be donated to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

A hurricane relief drive will be held next Saturday at the Jellico civic center. It will start at 4PM and people can drop off clothing or money to help those in need. Organizers said it's a joint effort between Knox, Anderson and Campbell counties.

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