KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)- We're just hours away from thousands of our area's less fortunate from getting a gift, the gift of warmth.
For more than 25 years, the Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries has been making sure those in need, have a coat for the winter.
The final pieces of a puzzle-- more than a thousand volunteer hours in the making-- come together.
Sue Renfro, Marketing Manager for the Knox Area Rescue Ministries says, "Creating Coats for the Cold every year is a tremendous effort by dozens, and dozens of people."
Workers put up a tent on Friday afternoon. Saturday morning it's where folks will eagerly wait for a coat that's new or gently used.
Becky LittleBird is part of a small group with one mission-- to sort through a record number-- more than 11 thousand donated coats. But it's a mission that also warms her heart.
LittleBird, a volunteer says, "Well, it looks neat and clean. And very shopable. We have beautiful coats in here. Prestige Cleaners have cleaned them. And their organized and ready to go by volunteers."
In the mix, something for all ages. A shelter from life's tough times.
This year, despite the sometimes gloomy economic outlook-- the giving increased.
Renfro says,"Normally we don't have enough children's coats. But this year we have been wonderfully blessed with a lot of children's coats. And that's a terrific thing."
But, the struggle continues to provide warmth for those needing larger sizes.
3X and larger are once again in short supply. What's not lacking--
LittleBird says, "It's a very nice feeling to see that there are people who need coats and we can provide that. And I'm very pleased when everyone goes away with a smile and a coat and has a good time."
If you're planning on getting a coat, make sure you're in line by 8 a.m. at the KARM Thrift Store on Hall of Fame Drive.
The event ends at noon.
After that-- any left-over coats will be given to other organizations to distribute.