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Monday, November 16, 2015

Douglass alumni group helps Lincoln students stay warm


KINGSPORT — Some students at Lincoln Elementary School will be warm in new coats, hats and gloves this winter, thanks to the Sons and Daughters of Douglass and a grant from the city of Kingsport.

The Sons and Daughters group, alumni of the former Douglass High School that served black students before desegregation, donated the winter wear items last month for distribution to students who needed them at Lincoln Elementary. The school distributed the items this month to about 60 students; another distribution will occur around the first of December.

“The students were so excited they had their coats, hats, and gloves on going home, and I think it was 70 degrees out,” said Marsha Musick, a social worker who is the family liaison at Lincoln, where the principal is Shelia Newland. “They will need them very soon. What a blessing.”

This marks the second year the Douglass group has donated items to Lincoln students. Last year’s offerings were food, socks, T-shirts, sweat shirts and school supplies, said Andrea Watterson and Judy C. Phillips of the Douglass group.

Musick said the school works with families in the community to look at students’ needs in determining recipients of the coats and other items.

The grant was for $2,500, with about half that amount going for the items handed out recently. The rest of the money will be spent on items for the December distribution, Watterson said. Phillips said last year the Douglass group went shopping twice at both Kingsport Walmarts, while this year’s items for phase one came from Burlington Coat Factory. She said retailers give the group deals and discounts on the items, which go to students ranging from Pre-K to fifth grade. Lincoln has about 470 students.

Watterson worked for nine years as a cook in the Lincoln cafeteria and is a former vice president of the Douglass group, and her cousin, Alan Watterson, helped with the donated clothing.

“All of my children attended here,” Phillips said.

Watterson, Phillips and Sandy Wilmer were members of the Douglass group’s committee for this year’s clothing distribution.