Coat giveaway lightens burden on families this Christmas

Twenty families who have been served by Crisis Assistance Ministry got new coats Friday night.

“Many years ago my family went through a crisis due to a family tragedy,” said Julia Burgess, a recipient. “I didn’t know what to do, where to go.”

Burgess found refuge at Crisis Assistance Ministry.

“Not only did they help me find housing, find support, they provided resources to not only receive housing but maintain housing,” Burgess said.

The nonprofit teamed up with the Carolina Panthers and Channel 9′s Steve’s Coats for Kids to make the festive event happen with a few days to spare until Christmas.

Crisis Assistance Ministry recognized people, including Burgess, who regained their footing to be self-reliant.

“These have turned the corner, or are turning the corner,” said Tovi Martin, spokesperson at Crisis Assistance Ministry. “The end of the tunnel is in sight. They have a plan. They are working their plan.”

Every member of 20 families got a new coat, which Martin said takes a lot of the burden off the families during the holidays.

“They can keep their family warm, but they didn’t have to divert money from their rent, their utilities, their grocery bill,” Martin said.

There was more to the event than a coat giveaway.

“They’re giving everything they got to try to get out of tough time, a tough spot,” said Panthers’ Adam Thielen. “Those are the people that we want to help out.”

The wide receiver and his wife Kaitlin represented The Thielen Foundation, which helps in youth development.

The Thielen Foundation gave families $1,650 in gift cards tonight.

The Thielens have been focused on philanthropy in the Charlotte community.

“It’s not ours, it’s God’s kingdom, and so we feel truly that with much is given, much is expected,” Thielen said.

VIDEO: Charlotte Sports Foundation and Duke’s Mayo Bowl mascot stop by Steve’s Coats Collection Day

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.