The campaign to Keep Haywood Warm was a huge success on Nov. 19 and Dec. 17 when Canton First Baptist Church hosted two events.

That’s why the church will continue the effort each Thursday in January.

At the winter events, The Bear Closet provided clothing for children from birth to age 5. Clothes For Kids (Lake Junaluska) was on hand to help clothe children between the ages of 5 and 15, and also provided tennis shoes and blankets.

“The Bear Closet gave out big bags of necessities which were gone before the day was over,” said volunteer coordinator Jean Parris. “Hopefully both will participate in our next endeavor. The thing that was a big surprise for us was that as big bags of needs were taken out, another group was bringing in more.”

Parris said a large amount of the donations still had new tags on them, indicating they were newly purchased to give to those in need. Many of those getting multiple bags were shopping for family, friends and neighbors.

Becca Golden with the N.C. Harm Reduction Coalition was able to distribute 65 warm coats and socks, gloves and hats to those who were homeless and the most needy.

The events also served three different groups who lost everything to home fires.

Blankets, throws and sleeping bags were all gone in about half a day.

“One lady got six bags of needs for her elderly mother, her neighbor, her disabled sister and a friend,” Parris said. “We workers were so emotional after these two days that all we could say was ‘God put us there to provide for our less fortunate neighbors.’ And, we still had a lot more to offer because our coffers just kept getting full.”

For the month of January, Canton First Baptist Church is opening its doors to provide clothing to all who have needs on Jan. 7, 14, 21, and 28. The hours will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Groups that have an immediate need can contact Parris at 648-1358.

“Thank you to all our dedicated workers and to those many persons who kept the donations coming,” Parris said.

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