Kids from around the county will stay warm in the cold winter months thanks to the efforts of a local anti-bullying group and a benefit Christmas concert. The 2018 Coats for Kids Christmas Concert will take place on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, at 6 p.m. at Christ the King Church, 1311 S. Lafayette St., Shelby.
Harold Williamson and The Wondering Souls will be the featured group at the concert. Other groups and artists performing include Rock Springs Bluegrass Gospel Band, Sam Parsons, The Randolph Family, Christine Evans, Byron Cole and Monica Lewis.
Admission for the concert is $5 or the donation of a new or gently used coat. All money raised at the concert will be used to purchase new coats for area school kids.
"We will collect coats until December 14, and on December 18 we will distribute the coats to our local schools," says Samantha Davis, founder of Parents Against Bullying NC (PABNC), the sponsor of the coat drive. "This is our third annual coat drive, but it is the first time we have held a Christmas concert. We have some very talented people and bands singing gospel and Christmas music, and we really hope that folks will come out and share the warmth."
PABNC is a small nonprofit organization that was founded in 2013 by Davis. Davis' son has Asperger's Syndrome and was severely bullied due to being different.
"No matter whom we contacted, my son was still bullied," says Davis. "I felt so defeated, and I shared my son's story on social media. It was then that I realized that I was not alone. There were so many parents dealing with the same issues."
The group joined together to form PABNC with a goal of advocating for parents of bullied children. Group members also mediate between the schools and parents.
In addition to the group's annual coat drive, PABNC conducts a drive to collect back-to-school supplies. The group has also teamed up with LDH Counseling and Consulting, PLLC, to help parents and the children get any needed therapy.
For more information about PABNC, the Christmas concert or the Coats for Kids drive, search for "Parents Against Bullying NC" on Facebook or call Davis at 704-418-6995.
By April Hoyle Shauf, Special to Community First Media