The Embers help kickoff Coats for Kids drive in Warren County

The Embers, featuring Craig Woodlard, performed at Thursday night's Coats for Kids kickoff. Ashley Miller/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – The band The Embers, featuring Craig Woodlard, helped the Front Royal Rotary and Department of Social Services kick off their Coats for Kids drive Thursday evening at Warren County High School with holiday tunes and special appearances from Rudolph, Frosty and Santa himself.

Inspiration for this year’s coat drive came from the Rotary Club of Winchester, which over the years has been dedicated to donating as well as soliciting donations for Coats for Kids. The program provides new coats for children who might not otherwise have one.

Warren County Administrator Doug Stanley, Rick Novak, President of the Front Royal Rotary Club and DeAnna Cheatham, Social Services Director of Warren County have high hopes for this year’s coat drive. The trio hopes to raise over $3,000 in the community. That will allow 150 kids, toddlers to young adults, the ability to have a warm coat for the upcoming winter season.

Each coat costs $20 and is made of warm fleece material. And they come in a wide variety of colors, Cheatham explained. “They’re brand new, with tags still intact,” Novak added.

“Unfortunately there are kids in the community that go without basic necessities,” Stanley said. “And because of that need, we decided to come together and raise an awareness,” he added.

In the last couple of weeks, Cheatham said, DSS has received a number of calls asking for items for cooler weather. “People are looking for coats, jackets and blankets for their children. So, it’s really a blessing to be able to do this in the community,” Cheatham said.

Novak pledged $1,000 from Thursday night’s concert to kick-start the coat drive.

The Embers are known for their beach music in the Carolinas,  Virginia, and up the rest of the East Coast. They are a band that mixes favorite beach tunes with Christian sentiment. The Embers consider the genre of beach music as “music with a memory” and have been creating musical memories since the band’s inception in 1958. Simply put, they’re a band full of heart and soul, rhythm and blues.

“Twenty donation boxes will be out through the community for individuals to donate,” Stanley said. Locations include the Department of Social Services, Royal Cinemas and Royal Family Bowling Center.

“Our goal is to see ‘Operation Warm Coat’ take flight in the Warren County community,” Stanley said. He hopes, along with Novak and Cheatham, that this endeavor will continue for many years to come.

Also included in this year’s drive is the popular “Doc Smith” Christmas Basket program, a program that the Front Royal Rotary Club has been involved with for many years.

For more information on the Coats for Kids Program, contact Doug Stanley at 636-4600, Rick Novak at 660-9597 or DeAnna Cheatham at 635-3430.