Family Focus

Charlotte middle school students collect 767 coats for kids in need

“I know there’s lots of families that are really struggling right now because it’s getting really cold outside. Some children have to wear coats while they go to sleep and they really need this,” Brycen said.

Eighth-grade students Brycen and Wyatt have big aspirations, but their ambition is not focused on themselves, rather, it is on how they can help others.

These two remarkable students at Piedmont I.B. Middle School are collecting coats for Steve’s Coats for Kids to benefit children in need in the Charlotte community.

Originally, they set a goal of collecting 550 new and gently worn coats.

“I was really grateful for what I had growing up, and I wanted to express that gratitude by doing something instead of just saying it,” Wyatt said.

“I want to put myself in other people’s shoes,” Brycen said. “I know how many people are struggling right now, and the world really doesn’t think about the homeless as much as celebrities, but the homeless are also people, too and they really need us.”

WSOC-TV’s Steve’s Coats for Kids campaign began in 2005. 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. The organization provides assistance with rent, utilities, clothing and furniture.

“I see all types of people. Everybody’s different and everybody has different needs. I’m just happy to be able to help people,” Wyatt said.

The two-week collection had a heavy push at the end when the student body learned that the class donating the most coats would get a private tour of the Carolina Panthers stadium.

On the final day, the boys were taking coats even after their deadline. The final number: 767 donated coats.

“I’m a long-term Panther fan,” Brycen said. “I’ve never got to see the backstage and what they do before the games, so that’s going to be really cool.”

“I think that day is going to be like great because I know everybody loves the Panthers,” Wyatt said.

Piedmont has collected coats for Steve’s Coats for Kids for the past several years. This giving spirit has been part of the culture of the school since 1925 and is ingrained in the staff and students.

Many of the students at Piedmont have developed a love for doing good deeds for others.

Their actions show that, regardless of your age, anyone can make a real difference in the community.

The Steve’s Coats for Kids campaign runs until Dec. 31, 2021.

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

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


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

Comments on this article