WILLIAMSON – With snowflakes falling, temperatures dropping and an impending winter storm forecasted; coats began appearing on trees and posts throughout downtown Williamson free for anyone in need of winter apparel.
As the days continued, coats kept appearing and Williamson residents were curious as to what individual or organization was behind the kind and selfless gesture.
Social media posts on Facebook led the Williamson Daily News to the husband and wife behind the coats that have warmed residents in need.
Joe and Tara (Hylton) Venturino explained that they were not seeking recognition when completing the acts. Joe stated, “It was something I saw on Facebook a long time ago. We were sitting at the house one night and it was cold. I got the idea and my family went around town and started putting them up. We weren’t doing it for recognition; we just wanted to help.”
Joe Venturino explained that providing coats to the less fortunate also provided his children with a lesson in being charitable. “My son is three and I have two daughters that are eight and 11. I was trying to get the kids to understand the concept and why we were doing it,” Joe stated.
The Venturino’s placed three coats throughout the town the first night. “The first night I had one coat and she had two,” Joe stated.
After Joe’s wife posted a photo of the coats the first night, others began assisting the Venturino’s in their effort. “The response was like: wow,” Joe explained.
“Everyone wanted to get involved, help out and donate,” Joe continued.
As more people became interested, the Venturino’s began picking up coats from those interested in helping. “Some are donated, some are ours. We go pick them up and go out and hang them up. Sometimes, we put hats or scarves with them,” Joe explained.
The Venturino’s would like to continue providing coats to those in need. “I would like to start doing it in surrounding communities,” Joe stated.
Joe explained that his family hopes that others will continue to join them. “Maybe it will catch on and others will get involved in doing something good,” Joe explained.
Those interested in donating coats can send a private message to Joe or Tara Venturino on Facebook.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279.)