Nov. 5, 2009
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Coats for the Counties, an innovative program that collects and delivers winter apparel to needy children in rural counties that surround Metropolitan Nashville, will occur prior to the Vanderbilt-Kentucky football game November 14.
This will be the third year that the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and Vanderbilt Athletics have teamed up for this worthy project. Fans coming to the football game are encouraged to bring new and gently used winter coats that are donated at convenient drop-off areas at each of Vanderbilt Stadium's main gates. Children's' sized coats are most needed but all sizes can be utilized.
Coats for the Counties was conceived by LaRawn Scaife, who realized from friendships with public school employees that children in rural areas were coming to school without coats, caps or gloves in cold weather and they had few, if any, resources to obtain help.
"The teachers and school nurses had been trying to buy these children coats but they simply couldn't keep up their efforts without some help," Scaife says. "I have seen the smiles and the tears on the children's faces when they realize that they have their very own coat to keep."
Scaife is quick to credit the teamwork of the Community Foundation, Vanderbilt Athletics and her husband Richard, who donates his time and resources to store and ultimately help deliver the coats around the countryside.
Vanderbilt is proud to be a part of Coats for the Counties.
"Our fans have really gotten behind this worthy project," says Rod Williamson, Director of External Relations. "It is very gratifying to see the hundreds of coats and caps being donated to these good kids. It is nice to have confidence that these donations are going directly to those that need them the most."
Scaife notes with the tight economy and higher unemployment rates that the need this winter is probably greater than recent years.
Kickoff time for the Commodores-Wildcat football game is 11:20 a.m.. People wishing to donate a coat but unable to attend the game can drop it off at the McGugin Center, just across the street from Vanderbilt Stadium, the week of the game.