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2020 Coats for Kids: Nearly 1,500 coats, $13,000+ donated to Forgotten Child Fund

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The Forgotten Child Fund is looking for more donations for new hats, coats and gloves. Join us on Thursday, December 3rd, 2020 outside of Dave and Buster's from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. outside the Hamilton Place Mall (2084 Hamilton Pl Blvd, Chattanooga, TN). (File WTVC staff photo by Nathan P. Gayle)

UPDATE (Friday):

We were there as all your donations were unloaded and handed out on Friday.

One volunteer we spoke with told us seeing the familes' reactions is what makes her job worth it.

"Seeing everyone get toys and provide for their families after a rough year and us being able to help them make their kids happy for that day, it touches all of us," said Stacey Baty.

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You can still donate to the Forgotten Child Fund. Just go here to learn more.

UPDATE (Thursday):

On Thursday, December 3rd, the NewsChannel 9, FOX Chattanooga, and CW Chattanooga crew alongside of Hamilton County Special Tactics and Rescue Services (STARS) collected donations for the Coats for Kids drive.

In total, we collected 1,489 new coats for the Forgotten Child Fund, and they also received more than $13,000 in donations! If you missed the amazing event, don't worry - you can make a monetary donation directly to the Forgotten Child Fund here.

Your donations are helping the Forgotten Child Fund make the holidays brighter for families when they need it most!

Each year the Forgotten Child Fund collects coats, hats, and gloves for families in need. They are also taking donations as well to help buy more gear for kids in the winter.

Social distancing, masks and a drive-thru donation line were in place to ensure proper safety against COVID-19.

Carrie Keith is a member of STARS, and she volunteers at the Coats for Kids drive every year. She says a pandemic can't stop them from helping the community.

"The coronavirus has really impacted all of us this year and especially the forgotten child fund, we are limited in donations," Keith said.

Donna and Harry Hill organized a neighborhood donation and dropped off 102 coats for the Forgotten Child Fund.

Families like the Hills dropped off donations throughout the day and said hello to the NewsChannel9 crew from their car.

"The cold weather just jumped upon us and now everyone's thinking we got to make sure our kids are warm," Donna Hill said.

The drive took place all day Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Couldn't make it to the drive? Don't worry! You can make a monetary donation directly to the Forgotten Child Fund here.

Your donations are helping the Forgotten Child Fund make the holidays brighter for families when they need it most!

PREVIOUS UPDATE (December 2nd):

Each year, Coats for Kids benefits the Forgotten Child Fund and families in our area. This year, things are a little different. The organization is extremely low on donations and need the help of the community.

On Thursday, December 3rd, volunteers will help NewsChannel 9, FOX Chattanooga, and The CW Chattanooga collect new coats, hats and gloves for kids all across the community. We will be outside of Dave and Buster's from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. outside the Hamilton Place Mall (2084 Hamilton Pl Blvd, Chattanooga, TN).

Kelly Simmons, the President of the Forgotten Child Fund, says he knows time have been tough and it's hard to ask people for donations in a year like 2020.

"We are in desperate need," Simmons said. "We know it's tough."

Typically before the drive, they have around 1,500 coats already. This year they only have around 800.

Families from all over Chattanooga have benefitted from this Coats for Kids drive every year.

That includes families like Erica Shepps. She says she knows what it's like to have to ask for a little help.

"They wouldn't have had Christmas if it weren't for the Forgotten Child Fund," Shepp said.

Her two daughters and step-daughter received coats from Coats for Kids and also toys from their annual Christmas toy drive.

"I was having a hard time two different Christmases. They provided my kids with Christmas," Shepp said.

Shepp is encouraging anyone that can make a donation to take advantage of this opportunity.

According to the state of Tennessee, in Hamilton County, 17.5% of children were in poverty in 2019. That is almost one in five kids.

Simmons says to make sure people take COVID-19 precautions, they are asking people to drive up and stay in their cars when they deliver any donation on Thursday.

If you would like to make a monetary donation directly to the Forgotten Child Fund, or cannot make it to the Coat for Kids drive on Thursday, click here.


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