Local launches coat drive

Published 2:36 pm Thursday, December 2, 2010

LINDEN — Latonya Hogans is doing her best to do her part this holiday season. At a time of year when so many bandy about phrases pertaining to the distribution of goodwill toward men, Hogans is shorter on talk than she is actions.

“Taking my girls to school in the mornings and seeing a lot of kids in the cold weather with no coats on and then going to the football games and seeking kids with no coats on,” Hogans said of her inspiration for the coat drive she has started in Linden. “Also knowing last year how hard it was for me to get some of the things my kids needed. the economy is such a rough thing right now. You want to be able to help people out.”

Hogans, who operates Lady J’s in Linden on South Main St. in Linden, has been taking coats in at her business since Nov. 6.

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“I also have another young lady who helps me, and she goes out and she picks up coats,” Hogans said.

At the moment, Hogans’ efforts center around downtown Linden. But she is hopeful she will soon be able to spread the warmth to other parts of the Black Belt.

“Right now I distribute them out here, but I am hoping to partner with a nonprofit organization in Livingston and I am hoping to be able to do something with the Theo Ratliff Center and be able to distribute them out there,” Hogans said. “I am trying to branch off and start some sort of clothes closet for drug abused women and women who are trying to start their lives over again.”

Hogans acknowledges that there is only so much one person can do to make a difference. However, she also believes in one person’s ability to inspire others to become involved. Hogans said she hopes she is able to do just that.

“I’m trying to get out and get people concerned about helping other people,” Hogans said.

Hogans and partner Nikki Sheffield had initially set Dec. 6 as the deadline for dropping off coats, but have since extended their efforts until Dec. 16. Coats can be dropped off at Lady J’s from Monday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sheffield is also available to pick up coats from those who wish to donate and are unable to make the trip to Linden.

The coats, hats and gloves collected are available to children and elderly individuals in need.

“There are a lot of elderly people in our community who do not have the resources and finances to warm up,” Hogans said. “If there is a need from another adult that is not elderly, we can help them too.”

Those seeking more information are encouraged to contact Hogans at 832-368-3697 or Sheffield at 334-213-5030.