Over 300 coats to be distributed to children in Stop Six community
Carlos Walker saw students walking to Dunbar High School wrapped in blankets or with their arms tucked in their shirts on a cold morning eight years ago.
The sight inspired Walker, director of Fort Worth ISD Family Action Center, and his team to develop a project that provides warm clothing to children in need.
Since then, Fort Worth ISD and Witherite Law Group have partnered for eight years to host the annual Coats for Kids giveaway to Stop Six pre-K through 12th grade students. This year, the event will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 2 at Sunrise-McMillan Elementary School, 3409 Stalcup Road, to distribute more than 300 coats.
The students Walker saw that chilly morning were walking from Cavile Place, a now-demolished public housing development in Stop Six. The students didn’t have the option to take the bus because they live within a 2-mile radius of their school, Walker said.
“Whether it’s raining or snowing, whatever the case may be, the kids walk to school,” he said. “We wanted to provide some type of program to help.”
Because 78% of the Stop Six neighborhood population is considered to be low-to-moderate income, it is less likely that its residents can afford warm clothing, according to a news release.
Students receiving the coats were identified before the giveaway through a collaborative effort between Fort Worth ISD, Witherite Law Group, Fort Worth Housing Solutions and Urban Strategies Inc.
The hundreds of coats distributed each year are funded by Witherite Law Group, which purchases them in bulk from a partnering company.
“Many of our clients come from that geographical area in Fort Worth,” said Amy Witherite, founder of the law firm. “We believe we, as lawyers, can do more than just represent a single family that’s been tragically injured in a wreck — we can do more to step into those communities and make a positive impact to lift them up.”
Along with hundreds of coats, the event also gives Stop Six families an opportunity to celebrate the holidays with food, bounce houses and a photo with Santa Claus.
“It’s important to try and lift people up and make their lives just a teeny bit better,” Witherite said. “Because that’s all we can do — make incremental positive changes in people’s lives.”
Sara Honda is the audience engagement and social media fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.