Winter “Warm-Up” Clothing Drive

Published 4:29 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2022


As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, the winter months are a season for family, friends and gift giving. The holiday season also is a time for giving to those who are less fortunate.

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What better way to share with others than the gift of warmth during a cold winter?

Unite Bell County is holding its Winter-Warm Up Clothing Drive through the holidays with the hopes of providing warm clothing to those in need.

“We’re mainly looking for coats, toboggans, gloves, and other winter clothing items, but all donations are welcome.” said LeAnna Allen, vice chairman of Unite Bell County.

Unite Bell County is accepting donations of new and gently used clothing, with a heavy emphasis on winter wear. The organization needs clothing of all sizes for men and women, boys and girls, and donations can be dropped off at the Bell County Chamber of Commerce Office located at 189 N. 20th St. in Middlesboro, or at Family Pride Counseling.

The deadline for donating articles of clothing is fast approaching, Allen said.

“Donations need to be turned in by December 5th, so that we have time to sort them out for the drive on the 10th,” said Allen.

Jonathon Tuttle, pastor of Pinnacle Church in Middlesboro and Chairman of Unite Bell County, said there are many people locally who need help.

“The purpose of this drive is to get winter warming items, such as hand warmers, gloves, scarves, and we’ll host a canned food drive at a later date,” Tuttle said. “Since that is our winter project that will be initiated in January and rolled out in February.”

This year marks the fourth year that Pinnacle and Unite Bell County have teamed up to hold a winter clothing drive, and the past three have been an overwhelming success, Tuttle says.

Through partnerships with Commercial Bank and other churches, Tuttle says they have helped more than 500 people who need warm clothes to make it through the winter. This year however, there is a shortage of donations.

“We still need donations of all sizes,” Tuttle said. “There is a need for children’s clothes and youth items, a need for sizes 10 to 14.”

Allen knows from firsthand experience there is need in the community, especially in the winter months.

“I am actually in recovery myself,” said Allen.

“I was completely homeless, and I didn’t have anywhere to stay, really even overnight most of the time, so I know how hard it is out there, especially in the winter time. That kind of drives me to help the ones that I can help now that were in the same position as me before.”

“UNITE” is an acronym meaning Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education. It reflects the three-pronged, comprehensive approach deemed necessary to combating substance abuse and misuse.

Operation UNITE was launched in 2003, by U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers in response to a special report, “Prescription for Pain,” published by the Lexington Herald-Leader that winter. This series of articles exposed the addiction and corruption associated with drug abuse in southern and eastern Kentucky, which largely included Rogers’ Fifth Congressional District.

Operation UNITE primarily serves 32 counties in southern and eastern Kentucky, including all counties comprising the Fifth Congressional District: Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Wayne, Whitley and Wolfe.

Those in need can come to the Unite Bell County Winter-Warm Up Clothing Drive scheduled for 9 a.m.-11 a.m. on Dec. 10 at Middlesboro City Parking located at 189 N. 20th St. Hot cocoa will be served as well.

If you have any questions, or for more information, please contact LeAnna Allen at 606-670-3970, Jonathan Tuttle at 606-219-4676, and Pamela Shackelford Sulfridge at 606-269-3789.