A sweet way you can donate coats for Carolina kids

Steve’s Coats for Kids has distributed over 200,000 coats to kids in need

A sweet way you can donate coats for Carolina kids

A sweet idea to help kids this winter is cooking up at a university cake shop, and it’s made with all the right ingredients.

CJ and Samantha White own Smallcakes Utopia in the university area. Walk into the shop and your senses are instantly taken over with the sweet smells of some the most beautiful cupcake creations you could imagine.

This is a special place and these are special owners who understand the importance of community.

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“We have really felt blessed by the community during the COVID crisis,” said Samantha White. “Being able to maintain our small business and staying open really because the community supported us. We wanted to find ways to give back.”

This family-owned business is serving up some love and collecting new and gently worn coats for Steve’s Coats for Kids.

“There’s a lot more job loss going on right now, so all those people who normally would be able to just manage are at this point now considering, ‘Do I buy my kid a jacket or do I pay for rent?’ Because everybody’s been hurt by the coronavirus.”

WSOC-TV’s Steve’s Coats for Kids campaign was introduced in 2005 and asks the community to donate new and gently worn coats of all sizes. 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.

“We understand that with harsh winter weather coming up that we want to make sure that kids and those in the community have the clothing and the needs to be able to stay warm,” Samantha said. “Any way that we can find to give back to them, we are trying to make sure that we’re showing our appreciation for all the support that we’ve received from everybody.”

These owners agree that now is the time for everyone to stand together, especially during a time when things are very trying.

“There’s a lot of times where you can lose a little bit of appreciation for others. I think that drives like (Steve’s Coats for Kids) really brings us back together and reminds us that the bigger ultimate goal should be really just to respect each other and to strive together to be better,” Samantha said.

As an added incentive, if you donate a coat you’ll get a 10 percent discount off your order.

“If they come in and donate, we give them 10 percent off cupcakes and ice cream,” CJ said.

“You get a delicious treat when you do it. Where else do you get a delicious treat at the same time that you’re making somebody warm?”

It’s clear that this shop is more than just a place to grab a tasty treat. Smallcakes Utopia has a crew with warm hearts and a love for the Charlotte community.

“Small gestures can make a difference,” Samantha said. “It really just comes down to if we can put a smile on somebody’s face and help somebody else out. You never know when you’re gonna be in that need yourself.”

“You know we make your hearts warm. You make people’s backs warm. Yeah, it’s a win-win situation,” CJ said with a big smile.

Smallcakes Utopia is located at 6925 University City Blvd, Unit #415, Charlotte, NC 28269. They’re just off I-85 next to Ikea.

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.

In addition to Smallcakes Utopia, there are more than 70 Steve’s Coats for Kids donation locations across the Carolinas, including Showmars, Ashley HomeStore, E.R. Plumbing Services, Crisis Assistance Ministry and all Charlotte fire stations.

If you have an inspiring story, please contact Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte Public Affairs Manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.