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Texas woman, charities work toward 'global warming' by giving away coats to families in need

'To be able to get a coat for Christmas, and to be able to go back to school with a new coat. It is very, very elevating for them.'
Credit: Byron Harris / WFAA
Wilma May of Chosen Ones

FORT WORTH, Texas — Wilma May thinks about warming all year, but not in the way you might be thinking about it. She worries about keeping the families she helps all year warm during the winter.

So, the annual Open Door event at Hope Supply, where social service agencies can come and select brand new winter coats for their clients, is a big deal.

May works for Chosen Ones, which serves adoptive and foster families in Fort Worth. On this day, she’s picking up 50 winter coats that will go to foster children. Hope Supply is distributing 2000 coats, worth more than $200,000, to 31 North Texas agencies just in time for Christmas.

“A lot of these children do not have coats, especially if they're new into foster care," May explained. 

"Many times they come with clothes on their backs, dirty, you know, not weather appropriate,” she added. “So, to be able to get a coat for Christmas, and to be able to go back to school with a new coat. It is very, very elevating for them, but also builds confidence because they have what the other children have.”

The garments come from Delivering Good, which, through Burlington Stores, has been distributing new coats at Christmas time for 15 years. During that time, Burlington has given more than 2.4 million garments to select communities across the country. This year, Delivering Good selected Hope Supply as one of 10 organizations nationwide to distribute the outerwear.

The racks at Hope Supply are literally crammed with brand name garments, ranging from New Balance to Michael Kors to Kate Spade. Each organization gets an allotment, and representatives like May can “shop” for the sizes and styles their clients need.

Credit: Byron Harris / WFAA
Randy Mayfield and Amy Cheek of Hope Supply

Adair Neely of Brother Bill’s Helping Hand in West Dallas pushed a cartful of outerwear through the Hope warehouse. Every Christmas, Brother Bill’s hosts a party for kids. 

“It’s a blast,” Neely said. “The kids really look forward to it.”  

This year, 4,000 children are signed up for a two-day celebration mid-month. Neely got to choose 50 boys’ and girls’ coats and a selection of other clothing for 25 kids.

Credit: Byron Harris / WFAA
Anna Alvarado and Adair Neely of Brother Bill's Helping Hand

Most of the year, Hope Supply’s core business is distributing diapers and sanitation goods to non-profit agencies. At the end of every year, though, Hope receives donations of seasonal clothing in addition to what Delivering Good contributed this year. Allowing agencies to “shop” for what they need, is a more targeted way of getting help to clients, said Hope CEO Barbara Johnson.

After 15 years, Burlington Coat Factory hasn’t been able to solve "global warming" for everyone who needs a winter coat. But it’s gone a long way to making a cold winter survivable for a lot of people.

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