Wilmington Kids Line Up for Free Coats

By 9:15 this morning, there already were 30 people lined up outside the Sunday Breakfast Mission to get a brand new coat for their child. The coat donation wasn’t supposed to start until 10 a.m. but because of the rain and cold, Janice Laymon, the event organizer, let them in to start looking through the 400 free coats. ‘We know that this effort will help provide relief to families that are at risk during these challenging times,’ said the Rev. Thomas Laymon, president of the Wilmington nonprofit. This was the fourth year that the Sunday Breakfast Mission has given out coats to needy children. ‘This is what we do — it’s called compassion. This is what people need,’ Janice Laymon said. ‘This is what Jesus has called us to do. The economy has put stress and strain on lots of families.’ Chequita Battle, of Claymont, brought her 4-year-old daughter Chelanda to pick out a new coat. ‘I’m a single mom, and things are tough right now,’ Battle said. ‘And Chelanda doesn’t fit in her coat from last year anymore.’ Volunteer Ingrid Dodds greeted Chelanda with a warm smile and helped her find the right size. After trying on several different coats, Chelanda decided on a shimmery purple one. ‘You look so pretty,’ Dodds said. The Sunday Breakfast Mission was able to provide the coats to low-income families by teaming up with Operation Warm — a national nonprofit that has distributed over 500,000 new coats to children in 26 states since 1998. Kelly Ross, of Newark, heard about the giveaway through the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. Her two children, 3-year-old Gage and 10-year-old Jaydin, were so proud of their new coats. Gage sported a blue and white puffy coat, while Jaydin showed off her brown and pink one. ‘Being a single parent, every little bit helps,’ Ross said. ‘Getting help allows me to do other things for the kids.’

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