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Help Center begins push
Oct 22, 2004 12:00 am
Autumn is the season for family feasts and gatherings, but local charitable organizations hope Wilson Countians will think of it as the beginning of the season of giving too.
"This is a good community," Wilson County Help Center Director Dot Maxey said. "Anytime we need anything, somebody provides it."
Maxey is one of hundreds of Wilson Countians who devote energy and resources to providing for those who are having trouble helping themselves. She said among the many needs of those served by the Help Center, the most pressing include coats, blankets and mattresses, especially at this time of year with cold weather just around the corner.
"We need childrens' coats," Maxey said. "Blankets and something we need more than anything is the large size coats for adults. Of course, we always need mattresses year-round."
Maxey praised the community for being so generous, especially during the fall, when she said food donations are coming in daily.
She said needs are being met through the efforts of those participating in "Warming Up the Community," an annual coat and blanket collection.
"Warming Up the Community" is collecting donations of coats and blankets to give to the Wilson County Help Center. Participants in the effort include Marti Bone, Fran Caudill and Anita Tate. Friendship Christian School students will also collect needed items.
Drop-off points for donations are 115 Geers Drive, the residence of Dr. and Mrs. Caudill, Cumberland Real Estate and Auction on the Public Square and Cox's Jewelry and Gifts at 1418 W. Main St.
Special needs this year include childrens' and especially boys' coats, sizes 12M-6X and adult coats in X-large and plus sizes.
Maxey noted boys clothing seems to be hard to get people to donate, probably because boys are harder on their clothes than girls and wear them out quicker, leaving little to donate.
Even as Maxey was assisting a family who came in and applied for assistance, an unidentified donor came in and offered a donation of furniture and clothing, all he wanted was someone to come and pick it up, he said.
"Marti and them did the coat drive last year, and it was really good," Maxey said after arranging to pick up the man's donation. "We got quite a few coats, and some churches picked up on it too, after they saw it in the paper."
Last year, more than 50,000 clothing items passed through the doors of the Help Center, going to people in the community who need assistance. Each year, the numbers are going up – of how many people they serve, how many donations they receive and how much more their services are needed, Maxey said.
The increase in numbers means space at the Help Center is at a premium.
"We need a new building," Maxey said as she surveyed the full shelves of the thrift store area and overhead storage of seasonal items yet to be set out. "We've seen such an increase in the families we serve."
Maxey said the economy is one reason why the numbers are increasing.
"There's a lot of people moving into this area," she said. "People from the north are moving here; the economy is better here.
"We also get a lot of transitory people," Maxey continued. "We get a lot of those – people who are traveling through and get stranded."
Maxey finds satisfaction in coordinating meeting the needs of the neediest in our community.
"Anything they need," she said. "It's a different job everyday."
Maxey added the Help Center offers a thrift store area where the public is invited to purchase household items, books and even kids' Halloween costumes.
"We'll sell anything that isn't a necessity," she said. "We have a lot of neat stuff."
Staff Writer Corinne Galeano can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 15 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.