Coats that have already been collected by SMARM for needy in Sevier County. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)
SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries is looking for coats that can be given to thousands of people in need in Sevier County.
S.M.A.R.M. is right now collecting coats to be given out during a distribution day next weekend. The group says they will give out nearly 2,000 coats during their event next weekend, and 3500 before Christmas.
"We encourage people to clean out their closet and bring us a clean useable coat, gently used or if they want to purchase a new one we love those too," said Dick Wellons, Director of Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries. "We're just blessed to have a lot of folks in the community helping us, the 4H Club has always been gracious to bring us coats as well as some of the churches and businesses."
Wellons says there's a great need in the community for small, toddler sized coats and for larger sized ones. He says those tend to go the fastest. He says the need is a result of the large poverty population Sevier County has.
"I think so many people that come and visit or community come during the time when the tourist are here when the glitz and glamor are doing on on the parkway, but you get a few blocks back from the parkway and you see the real situation where there are a lot of folks in need. There is a poverty situation in our county that is very very large. We have literally thousands and thousands of people that are on food stamps and when our tourists taillight leave many of our jobs end or these folks hours are cut," said Wellons.
Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries will have the coast give-a-way on Saturday, December 8 in conjunction with other gift give-a-ways going on the same day.
Several other groups are trying to get mittens, scarves, and warm hats for people to have.