MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- For the second straight year, a Martinsburg woman and her two sons are collecting dozens of donated used jackets and other winter clothing to help the needy during cold weather.
Single mother Amanda Sonday said her project, Shared Cotton, is a byproduct of her previous involvement with charity projects in the Washington, D.C., area. She said she was disappointed that a walk her family participated in to benefit the homeless was canceled.
"We started Shared Cotton because we felt the need to contribute to the town in which we live," Sonday told The Journal. "I have been through enough to know that some of what we take for granted as individuals and families are things that other people can only hope for."
Sonday said 135 coats she and her sons brought to a rescue mission in Martinsburg last year were gone in less than an hour. She's collected more than 100 coats already this year and said she's looking for more donations, especially hats, gloves and scarves.
"I want people to know they don't have to do something major that takes up a lot of time, energy or resources," she said. "What's old or too small for you could be new and a perfect fit for someone who has nothing to block the weather this winter."
Sonday arranges most of her collections through the Shared Cotton Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SharedCotton.
"It allows me to get in touch with people from all over the area and make connections that wouldn't travel so fast by word of mouth," she said.
She plans to distribute the clothing in early to mid-November in downtown Martinsburg and is in the process of organizing the event.
Sonday said her sons, Malakai and Mikah, are involved in the project for a reason.
"My sons are a part of the process from beginning to end," she said. "I pick them up from school and we drive around to people's homes and offices to collect the coats. They help me sort by colors and then we wash, dry and separate them by size. Ultimately, I want my children to know and understand that if you're in a position to help someone out, you should."