Posted on December 28, 2011 by Mike Means

Greater Sequoyah County Home Builders Association members Rachael Diffee, left, of Century 21, and Pat Kennedy, right, owner of Professional Pest Control, with some of the children who received warm outerware Friday, Dec. 23, during the Association's clothing giveaway at the Assembly of God in Sallisaw. Members of the association said the event was a huge success and that they are looking at a similar drive next December.

The warmth of the Christmas season took on a special meaning on Friday, Dec. 23, as the Greater Sequoyah County Home Builders Association distributed warm-weather clothing to about 100 recipients during the organization's inaugural coat, shoes and sweater drive.

"Any time you help someone it gives you a good feeling," said Rich Looper, president of Looper Quality Homes in Sallisaw and president of the home builders' organization. The giveaway, held at the Assembly of God in Sallisaw, "went great," Looper said, and members are already talking about organizing a similar drive for the Christmas 2012 season.

"We were pleasantly surprised," said Looper, adding that about 100 people received coats, shoes and sweaters, all donated by residents and Sallisaw merchants. The home builders' goal was to help up to 50 families.

Looper wanted to particularly thank A-OK Printing, Wal-Mart, Tractor Supply and ABC Cleaners for assisting the home builders in the clothing giveaway.

The Sequoyah County Home Builders Association wanted to do something to help out during these economic hard times, Looper said. While new-home construction is a virtual standstill, association members realized many families were also struggling in several ways, including being able to provide enough warm clothing with winter weather approaching.

Their cause this year was to provide coats, shoes and sweaters to those in need, Looper said. And the townspeople came through in a big way. Flyers were distributed around Sallisaw several weeks before the giveaway, and drop-off points were set up at two locations.

The Assembly of God agreed to host the giveaway party two days before Christmas, and Looper said that at the very least, he was "pleasantly surprised" at the turnout.

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