Clara’s Heart Coat Drive hosted 30 volunteers behind The Rescue Mission of Trenton to provide underwear, socks, coats, hats, and toiletries to people in 20-degree weather. 

This event was created by Brian Blakely, president of Clara’s Heart, LLC, inspired by his mother’s over 40 years of community service in the city of Trenton.  “That’s the whole idea… everybody’s a volunteer, nobody’s on no payroll and all of the volunteers doing the best they can,” Clara E Sampson, Brian’s mother said. “(Brian) actually was the one who started all this. He just got me involved.”

Over the week, Blakely went around the city of Trenton collecting everything from local businesses, community members and family’s. Businesses like the Rosado’s McDonalds on Chamber Street who collected coats during their coat drive that was happening throughout December. “It feels really, really good. I think it’s important to give back, it’s actually an obligation not just to live off of people, but also to give back to the community that’s been so generous in patronizing us,” Rosa Rosado, Co-owner of the McDonalds said.

Throughout the morning, volunteers manned tables refilling them as supplies dwindled.  Nina Dawkins, Clara’s Heart, LLC event coordinator, ran up and down the assembly line helping out volunteers distribute everything that had been donated. “This is an awesome and humbling experience,” Dawkins said. “We never know what your situation is gonna be and…the majority of us are paycheck to paycheck… So it’s always important to give back. Always important to think of others and just be humble as possible.”

Coats weren’t the only thing being handed out. Teska Frisby was manning the coffee and donuts station handing out hot coffee, hot chocolate, and a whole bunch of sweets to anyone that came up. “It’s the coldest day so far. We get a little hot chocolate, a little coffee to help warm them. We can’t take away all the issues, but we’re just trying to be a part of the solution” Frisby said. “It’s warming to be able to be out here and be a blessing to them.” 

Clara’s Heart LLC’s mission statement is to keep and enhance the quality of life for our family of citizens through services, stewardship of resources, and shared responsibility. The LLC will continue its community services project as the year continues. “There is a need here in Trenton,” Sampson said. “We see people who we need to try to help as much as we can. That’s the whole idea. I’ve been doing it now for 40 years. I’m just grateful that we’re able to do this.”