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Thousands of coats collected for those in need

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By Dwane Wilder

LAFOLLETTE—The East End Community Center was packed last Friday with people in search of winter coats being given away at Food/Life Services of Campbell County.

A couple of thousand new and used coats, hoodies and sweatshirts — ranging in size from infant to adult — were collected by volunteers, who sorted and distributed them to the needy beginning at 9 a.m.

“People were lined before we got here. I knew they would be,” said Margaret Ayers, one of the volunteers who helped to organize and staff the event.

The coat giveaway was a collaborative effort between Food/Life Services, several churches and the school system. Drop-off locations were provided at four churches: LaFollette Church of God, First Baptist of LaFollette, First Baptist of Jacksboro and LaFollette United Methodist. From those sites, the coats were picked and delivered to the East End Community Center for distribution.

Previous coat giveaways were held in 2009, 2008 and 2007.

 “It’s been an overwhelming response. I’ve lived here all my life, and there’s a whole lot more good in this county than bad,” said Ayers.