Fayette County Sheriff’s Office kicks off 11th Diana Ross Winter Care Coat Drive

The drive aims to warm the bodies and hearts of people in need in the community.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 2:40 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Colder times are ahead, and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office is kicking off its 11th annual Diana Ross Winter Care Coat Drive.

The drive aims to warm the bodies and hearts of people in need in the community.

“It’s an easy need to fill. Everybody probably has more than one coat that they don’t wear,” said Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt.

However, not everyone has a coat to wear on a blistering cold day.

“It is as big a need as food insecurity and shelter. We’re all coming and going, we’re all out in the elements, and, oftentimes, we have folks living out in the elements,” said Witt.

The coat drive is now in its 11th year, but only in the last few years did it take on an even greater meaning.

“When she passed, we decided this was a worthy project to name in her honor,” said Witt.

Sheriff Witt says before Diana Ross passed away in 2018, she was a tireless advocate for victims of domestic violence. This was after her daughter Amanda was shot and killed by her ex-fiance in 2009.

“Diana and I became very close in her carrying on Amanda’s life. We took her to Frankfort for every legislative session as she was very committed and full of grace in ensuring that the laws were strengthened for domestic violence victims,” said Witt.

Sheriff Witt says the warmth a coat gives is the same warmth Ross gave to those victims.

Those involved with the drive say it consistently has an outpouring of support from the community.

“These boxes are big, but we seem to overflow them a lot. We’re kicking it off today, but we’re collecting coats for weeks in advance. We already have some,” said Todd Ziegler, President of Republic Bank’s Central Market.

From now until December 15, people can drop off gently used coats at any of the five Republic Bank Lexington locations:

  • ANDOVER: 3098 Helmsdale Place
  • CHEVY CHASE: 641 E. Euclid Avenue
  • HARRODSBURG ROAD: 2401 Harrodsburg Road
  • TATES CREEK: 3608 Walden Drive
  • VINE STREET: 333 W. Vine St., Suite 102

Once collected, the coats are taken to Bluegrass Cleaners or Chase Cleaners to be cleaned before distribution.

“They can call the sheriff’s office, we can bring out different coats for them to choose, they can come into our office. Our deputies carry the cleaned coats in the trunks of their vehicles, so if they find someone out in the elements or they’re interacting with someone on a call, they can offer them a coat,” said Witt.

Sheriff Witt says when people get their coats, it shows them that the community cares about them.

“Their hearts just fill with warmth, their eyes light up, and they feel valued,” said Witt.