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Coat and Blanket Drive Begins in Lawton Area

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LAWTON Okla_ The holidays are coming, and that means the season of giving has arrived.

The Lawton Housing Authority has teamed up once again with local businesses for their annual Feed the Need Project. Their mission: to make sure those in need are staying warm and full during the holiday season. This year, they've set the bar high in order to achieve those goals.

Two things are new this year with Feed the Need. The Lawton Housing Authority started their coat drive in October. That's two months earlier than normal. Also, in addition to their annual Christmas dinner, they're also pulling out all the stops for Thanksgiving as well.

It's the most wonderful time of the year, but for many families in Lawton, the holidays can be full of pressure to make ends meet. Even staying warm is hard for hundreds of people in our area. According to the Lawton Housing Authority, that need is even more prevalent this year, prompting the group to take action as early as October.

We've had calls from parents wanting coats and jackets for their school-aged children," Southwest Oklahoma Continuum of Care Director Jervis Jackson said. "So, we decided to move it back a few months, so that we can do the coat drive earlier and make those coats available to the people that need them earlier in the winter season."

Businesses like Burger King and Salas Restaurant are stepping up to keep coats and covers coming in.

"I think we forget how blessed we are until we start working with some of these individuals," Burger King Owner Betty Neuwirth said. "Nobody should be going without a coat and food. So, it's just a way to give back to our community."

Kicking off the coat and blanket drive early isn't the only thing that's new this season. The Faith-Based Church of God is also joining forces with Feed the Need. Their goal is to put 500 food baskets in the hands of Lawton families all just in time for Turkey Day.

"The 500 is a pretty ambitious number, so we still need some things right now," Jackson said.

He's confident that with the help of the community, 500 coats, blankets and even food baskets will become reality this holiday season.

"It is common within Southwest Oklahoma," Jackson said. "This is a community where when we see a need, the community gets behind it, they rally behind it, and a lot of the things we're able to do we do without funds or resources, because the people in this community really rally behind it and put forth the effort to get it done."

Jackson said they need cans of sweet potatoes, boxes of stovetop stuffing and non-perishable desserts. They're also accepting cash donations for things like turkeys and ham. For more ways on how you can help with those baskets, you can contact the Lawton Housing Authority at 580-353-7392.

You can also drop your gently-used coats and blankets off anytime at Salas Restaurant as well as all Lawton and Medicine Park Burger King restaurants. Food baskets will be given out Nov. 23 at the Faith-Based Church of God from 9AM-12PM.

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