PORTSMOUTH — With the winter season comes ensuing freezing temperatures in which many local residents lack coats to shield them from the cold.
As a result of this fact, The Counseling Center, Inc. (TCC) has been hosting a Winter Coat Drive to help those in need.
Wanda Riffe, Behavioral Health Treatment Director for TCC, Inc., and the Winter Coat Drive organizer, said they have received an incredible amount of support for their efforts.
“Our employees are always so supportive of our mission to serve. We have had donations from our employees, Second Presbyterian Church, Atomic Credit Union, Bikers For Christ brought gifts for our Transitional families, to the Club House, Will and Barb Burke and various community members who heard about the coat drive and just dropped them off anonymously. We are so grateful for their help and support,” Riffe said.
Gina Collingsworth, of TCC, Inc., said they have distributed 76 coats thus far and are planning to give out more.
“We actually got started back at about the first of December, but then it didn’t cold outside until recently,” Collingsworth said. “At this point we’ve had about 76 coats donated.”
The recipients of the coats are from the TCC clientele.
“We distribute the coats to our clients, or patients that may need a coat, or a family member of theirs may need a coat, or their children,” Collingsworth said. “We always want to make sure that we help the children, and see that they have coats.”
TCC plans to continue the drive throughout out the winter season.
“Yes. We are going to keep going until it warms up in the spring, and we don’t need them anymore. December was a very busy month for us, we also hosted other donation drives, including a Secret Santa Wish Lists, in which every client in our services provided a Wish List for their children, newborn up to age 16. and we recruited Secret Santa’s to shop from the list,” Collingsworth said. “Lists included one practical item they could ask for warm outfit, pajamas, coat, or shoes, and one toy, such as a Monster High doll or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We even had one Wish List that requested a turtle. Our Secret Santa delivered with a toy turtle that swims in the bathtub, it was very cute.”
A total of 176 children’s “Wish Lists” were filled in 2015, according to Collingsworth.
“Our Secret Santas were recruited from USEC’s Christmas Gifts for Children Program, Gary Crandall, president. TCC partnered with them last year and we were so amazed at their generosity again this year in the midst of the uncertainty of the future of the plant,” Collingsworth said. “They work to help many others in the community as well as The Counseling Center, Bethel United Methodist Church, employees of The Counseling Center, Compass Community Health, The Ohio State Highway Patrol Post 73; and other anonymous donors from the community.
For anyone interested in contributing a coat, or to make a donation to the effort, may come to the TCC Outpatient office at 411 Court Street in Portsmouth, or visit the TCC Administration building at 923 Findlay Street in Portsmouth.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.