Family Focus

Charlotte fire department collecting new, gently worn coats for kids in need

Once again, the Charlotte fire department is opening up its doors to take new and gently worn coats for Steve’s Coats for Kids.

Last year, the community donated thousands of coats at Charlotte fire department stations.

The department partnered with WSOC-TV for the annual Steve’s Coats for Kids campaign and collected coats from Charlotte and Mecklenburg County residents.

“We’re honored to participate and partner with Steve Coats for Kids again this year. As we’re walking into winter some families will have to make a tough choice between paying utility bills or buying coats for their children, and this gives us an opportunity to assist them,” said Charlotte fire department chief Reginald Johnson.

WSOC-TV’s Steve’s Coats for Kids campaign is part of the Channel 9 Family Focus brand and was introduced in 2005. Steve’s Coats for Kids runs through Dec. 31, 2021.

“Anything dealing with a child really rips at your heartstrings and being able to provide a child a warm coat not only to go to school with but maybe utilize at home and off hours is something that we want to do,” Johnson said. “We want to make sure that we take care of all our children.”

Steve’s Coats for Kids has collected nearly 250,000 coats, and every donated coat spends less than 48 hours in the Crisis Assistance Ministry Free Store before benefiting someone in need.

An independent nonprofit agency, Crisis Assistance Ministry focuses on preventing homelessness and preserving dignity for Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s working poor — providing assistance with rent, utilities, clothing and furniture.

“It is more for a child to have dignity and not worry about being cold and have a nice new or slightly used coat to keep them warm,” Johnson said. “It allows them to focus more on their school and education than worrying about not having a coat.”

Thanks to Cintas Charlotte, each coat is sorted, hung and inspected. For those coats that need extra attention, Cintas launders, replaces buttons, hems and otherwise does whatever it takes to get it looking almost new.

Channel 9 Eyewitness News chief meteorologist Steve Udelson is asking viewers to donate new or gently used children’s coats of all sizes for needy children in the Charlotte area.

“The need has never been greater. I urge you to go through your closets and consider donating any of your ‘gently used’ coats,” Steve said. “Thousands of Metro area kids go unprotected from the elements. Now, as we continue to endure some extraordinarily tough times, the need has never been greater.”

“When a family can receive a free coat for their kid, it’s just one less to worry about,” Johnson said.

There are over 100 collection points across the Carolinas, including Arby’s, Ashley HomeStore, E.R. Plumbing Services and all Charlotte fire stations.

The Charlotte fire department has been an amazing partner and will be crucial in the success of the Steve’s Coats for Kids campaign.

This campaign has been brought together through various partnerships and our 9 Family Focus sponsors which include Arby’s, Ashley HomeStore, Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Gastroenterology and Hepatology and E.R. Plumbing Services.


Learn more about how your donation can impact the community at

If you have an inspiring story, please contact Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at

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