"Don't forget your coat!" is a phrase many of us remember our mother shouting as we ran out the door on our way to school on chilly mornings. A nice warm coat, she believed, would shield her children from the cold much like her own warm embrace. It was their armor against the forces of nature. Most days, it was the end of a morning routine enabling her to rest easy knowing her child would be protected until they reached warm classrooms.
Try, for a moment, to imagine how difficult it must be for the mother who cannot say that.
Unfortunately, and for a variety of reasons, many children in our community don't have warm coats. Fortunately, and also for a variety of reasons, many of us have more than we need.
One mother in particular, Pat Parker, was known to be concerned about those in our community whose misfortune left them cold and in need. A coat drive, in honor of her memory, "Keep Rutherford County Warm" has been established to combat that need.
Regina Arrowood, event organizer and daughter of Pat Parker, tells us, "We lost our mother a few years ago. She was always thinking about people in need and how she could help. We organized this event in memory of her, with the hope of helping Rutherford County families in need." Regina continues, "I was a social worker for most of my career. My mother was an inspiration to me- she was the first unofficial social worker that I had the pleasure of meeting. She prepared me more for the 'art of caring' than any college degree. She was always full of wonderful ideas - I deeply miss our chats. It has been therapeutic for me and my family organizing this coat drive in honor of our mother. So many people have contacted us to share how much our mother helped them in times of need. She was definitely an "unseen" hero in her community."
Pat and Ronnie Parker were married over 47 years before her passing and had three children. Regina currently resides in Catawba County while Angie Parker Freeman, Marvin Parker, and his son Eric, reside in Rutherford County. "My mother came from a large family, with 7 brothers and sisters. Her brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews are helping us with the coat drive also. Reid and Louise Arrowood were her parents."
Donations of new and gently used coats and outerwear for children and adults will be accepted at the Spindale House in Spindale on November 11, and at the Woodrow Jones Building in Rutherfordton on November 25. Both drives will be held from 10am until 2pm. There are also other various drop-off sites throughout the county during the month of November. The sites include the Lake Lure Police Department, the Forest City Police Department, Randall's Ellenboro Restaurant, Rutherfordton Police Department and the Rutherford Weekly office. The donated coats and outerwear will be distributed to schools, day cares, and shelters in Rutherford County.
For more information, contact Arrowood at 828-464-2489.