It is a yearly gauge and chilling to the touch. It is a common shadow and an inescapable feeling of coldness. Winter.
But there are some things like the smiles of children that even winter cannot turn upside down.
Center City-based Carter Management provided students at Chester A. Arthur Elementary, 2000 Catharine St., a little bit of warmth with its winter coats donation Nov. 12.
Not everyone was receptive as Ralanda King, Chester A. Arthur’s parent and community ombudsman, admitted on some occasions it was not as easy to convince economically-disadvantaged families to accept donations. Selections were done by observation throughout the school either by King or the staff.
“Everybody has been very responsive but every now and then you might find some prideful people,” King said. “I tell them it’s not about that. It’s hard times for everybody. I mean when I see some children come in without any coats, I know something needs to be done about it. They can’t be going to school or anywhere else without a coat on in this weather.”
But 20th-and-Carpenter-streets residents Akhenaton Mikell and his daughters, Amakayla and Akhyah, who are in first grade and kindergarten at Arthur, respectively, and were more than grateful to receive cozy coats for the upcoming winter. The necessity had been caused by the current economy, which made the father of two value the little things.
“I’m very thankful,” he said. “It’s an important thing that they’re doing. It is definitely a necessity considering the hard times. Every little bit helps.”
Inspired to reach out to the community, King and Carter accountant Melanie Newman met at a community meeting where they joined to find some of the community’s most pressing matters, one of which was the needs for winter coats for needy families.
“We all took part of this wonderful project. Everyone was instrumental in this partnership and the reception has been very nice,” Newman said noting the possibility of making it a an annual project and expanding it to more schools. “A big motivation for this idea came because of the children. They are the basis of our community.”
Tenants at Center City’s Four Penn Center donated the winter garments, which included coats, scarves, gloves and other accessories, throughout a four-week period. They served an estimated 40 children at Arthur including the Mikells.
“My girls loved it,” their father said. “They’ve worn them every day, which is a big help. I can’t stop expressing how noble and glorious this project is.”