Wednesday, January 16, 2019
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20181227 TimCoats Mission GU 1692Tim’s Coats, a holiday tradition in the Rio Grande Valley, is sponsored by Tim Smith, weatherman on TV Channel 5. For over 25 years Tim has encouraged families with old coats that no longer fit or are no longer wanted to donate them to Channel 5 for distribution to families who cannot afford them.

The coats are given to Bill Stockton at Palace Cleaners in McAllen to be cleaned and checked for small repairs needed. Stockton donates his services.

When Channel 5 started the coat drive 25 years ago, residents of Bentsen Grove back then saw Tim’s plea for coats and decided to answer the call. For the past 25 years it has been a tradition to collect coats for the drive, and it has been their goal to donate more coats than any other group.

Residents who return home for the summer visit garage sales and flea markets looking for used coats to bring to the Valley. Or they bring the coats their grandchildren have outgrown. Other residents search out local flea markets and ropa usadas (used clothing stores) in search of used coats in good condition.

20181227 TimCoats Mission GU 1715Vivian Tuttle told the Winter Texan Times that the Bentsen Grove Red Hat Society had recently visited ropa usadas and come up with 70 coats for the coat drive.

This year the number of coats delivered to Tim Coats came in just shy of 1,000, as Bentsen Grove residents donated 991 coats. In 2018, they donated over 1200.

Tim said approximately 10,000 coats have been collected this year for distribution. “As you can see, about one-tenth of the coats come to us from Bentsen Grove. They lead the way each year. Other parks also collect coats but not in the numbers received from Bentsen Grove,” he added.

Once the coats are ready, they will be donated to the Salvation Army or distributed through Catholic Charities to those who need them,” Tim added.

Part of the tradition of Tim’s Coats at Bentsen Grove is that someone receives a pie in the face as a good-spirited way of celebrating the culmination of the coat drive for another year. It used to be that Tim got the pie every year if a certain number of coats was reached but now the honors are spread around. Tim got the pie last year, so they figured it was someone else’s turn this time around. This year’s recipient of the pie was Kathy Tyler, activity director. Peggy Creach, also an activity director, was delighted to assist – by putting the pie in Kathy’s face!

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