Charlotte Fire Department collects thousands of coats for kids in need

Charlotte — Over the past month, 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.

“The fire department provides all hazard service to the community, but we’re engaged in more than just that,” said Charlotte Fire Department Chief Reginald Johnson. “We'd like to fill gaps where gaps are identified and providing coats to children. It's just one of those gaps that we want to participate in.”

WSOC-TV's Steve’s Coats for Kids campaign was introduced in 2005. All coat donations are distributed through Crisis Assistance Ministry, an independent nonprofit agency focused on preventing homelessness and preserving dignity for Charlotte-Mecklenburg's working poor.

“Even one coat could make a difference in a child's life. Whether they're standing waiting for the bus or walking to school, it provides a basic need,” Johnson said. “It provides a little bit of self-confidence and improves self-esteem.”

Steve’s Coats for Kids has collected over 200,000 coats, and every donated coat spends less than 48 hours in the Crisis Assistance Ministry Free Store before benefiting someone in need.

While the coats were being collected from the fire stations beginning in December, the Fire Department brought the biggest donation during the Steve’s Coats for Kids collection day on January 15 when individuals, organizations and businesses are invited to visit the television station and donate coats.

Firefighters from Ladder 1 and Engine 11 delivered thousands of coats at the WSOC-TV collection day.

Within days, most of the coats were already on the racks at Crisis Assistance Ministry and ready to be given to a child in need of a warm winter coat.

The Charlotte Fire Department and firefighters have been an amazing partner for the success of this year’s Steve’s Coats for Kids campaign.

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