TYLER (KYTX) - Winter is a difficult time for struggling East Texas families, but after this weekend, hundreds of children will be able to stay warm.
PATH distributed more than 3,000 coats today during it's "Coats for Kids" drive, but for these families, it's more than just a jacket.
Excitement and smiles over something a lot of us might take for granted, a warm winter coat.
Jessica Stevens has served in the U.S. Army for almost 11 years.
"I've been in Afghanistan, Japan, Ft. Hood for the last 6 years, California, Virginia, South Carolina, everywhere," says Stevens.
After about a decade of service, she's finally retiring and settling back down with her family in Tyler.
"Everything's hard trying to move from place to place and getting back into the swing of things, not being military, just being a civilian, it's hard," says Stevens.
She says with trying to find a job and taking care of her kid, times are tough.
"Financially we're real tight, so this is a great event," says Stevens.
"We've had some very cold nights for at least a week and a half or two weeks," Becky Duncan, PATH.
Which is why Duncan with PATH says she held the "Coats for Kids" event before the Thanksgiving holiday.
"We don't want these children standing outside, waiting for a bus in the cold," says Duncan.
Evelyn Villarreal is thrilled that she'll be staying warm this winter.
"I got this color, turquoise," says Villerral.
It's been her favorite color since she was little.
"Whenever I saw something that was turquoise I wanted it, and I would always cry about it, and I always wanted it," says Villerreal.
Today, there were no tears.
Only smiles from Evelyn, who got the coat she always wanted.
These coats were either purchased with money from generous East Texans, or brought in by the community.