By Stan Voit
Winter Coat Day sponsored each December by Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries is a success largely due to people who donate their jackets and coats to the agency.
One local 6-year-old became aware of the annual event and wanted to do his part.
Jake Parton, son of Lindsey and Jeremy Parton of Sevierville, asked his parents not to get him any gifts for his birthday in November. Instead, he asked family members to donate coats to the drive. He also asked his friends to bring coats to the birthday party instead of presents for him. “I wanted to help the homeless people,” said Jake. “Ever since he was little he has always had a heart for the homeless,” Jake’s mother said. “It seems as though God laid that on his heart.”
His efforts resulted in some 50 coats and jackets being collected. He and his mother brought them by SMARM the week of coat day. “Last year he asked to collect blankets for the homeless,” said his mom. “This year he felt led to collect jackets. It was his idea.” In addition to coats, Jake and his family and friends also donated gloves.
“I wanted to help people,” Jake said. “We are supposed to help people. It’s what God wants us to do.”
“We are so proud of Jake and what he did for SMARM and our Winter Coat Day,” said Dick Wellons, executive director of the faith-based agency.
Some of Jake’s friends are doing the same kind of thing for their birthday parties. One asked guests to bring items for Pets Without Parents. Another asked guests to bring shoes to give to those in need.
SMARM can always use coats and jackets, as well as scarves, gloves and socks, to give to those in need who couldn’t make it out for the giveaway on Dec. 12. They can be delivered to SMARM’s office on Court Avenue at Cedar Street in downtown Sevierville. Call 908-3153.