The Lorton Community Action Center provided more than 1,250 winter coats to 245 Lorton families at the Woodbridge Moose Lodge #583 on Tuesday night.
The coat drive was held on the busiest night for the LCAC's food pantry.
"You can't put a price on warmth," said Elizabeth R., who found coats for her husband and two children. "I was an executive assistant at Georgetown University Hospital and I was laid off four-and-a-half years ago, and since I'm not working I can't even shop at T.J. Maxx."
Many families are swallowing their pride to get help from the LCAC, said executive director Linda Patterson. "Many of our families don't want their friends and neighbors to know that they need help," she said. "We are having more and more famlies who are referring their friends and neighbors. We served 43 percent more people from July through September this year than we did over that same period last year. Last Tuesday night we served more than 80 families in our one-and-a-half hour time slot."
This year, 412 families requested Thanksgiving baskets, up from 308 families in 2011. The LCAC's Thanksgiving food basket drop-off is this Sunday, Nov. 18, from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Click here to find out more about donating.
"It's really hard to be thankful when your basic needs aren't met," said Patterson. "The majority of our clients work more than one job. They work hard. They're school bus drivers, they work behind the counter at Target, drive our Metro buses, clean our offices and landscape our yards. They want the same life as us, which is a good life."