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“It’s a great feeling to be able to help some families": Local NFL player starts coat drive for children

Akeem Davis-Gaither started his first coat drive. He'll be collecting coats around Thomasville until January 1.

THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Former App State linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither always wanted to play in the NFL.

“You’re always told that it’s a rare occasion," said Akeem Davis-Gaither, who is a linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals from Thomasville.

The Thomasville native also wanted to be able to give back. His mom, Mona, set an example of that.

“She would do a bookbag drive, so I was always around my parents giving back to the people that maybe need that," said Davis-Gaither.

This year, he's achieved on goal. He made it into the NFL and plays for the Cincinnati Bengals.

“To be able to achieve that, especially for my family, is a huge blessing and opportunity," said Davis-Gaither.

Now it's time to accomplish the other side of that, giving back.

“When I had the opportunity to do that, I definitely wanted to do that," said Davis-Gaither.

Akeem started his first Children's Coat Drive. It's for school aged kids up to seniors in high school.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to help some families especially with Covid-19 going on, people losing jobs, to help them with something that maybe they wouldn’t have gotten his Christmas," said Davis-Gaither.

He hopes to help kids in Thomasville, the place he calls home.

"It means a lot to me," said Davis-Gaither. "I lived there my whole life. I almost know everybody besides the kids growing up now. Hopefully I can change that by doing more community stuff like this."

Davis-Gaither is collecting coats until January 1st. He plans to hand them out on January 10 at the Thomasville Police Department. 

If you'd like to help him out, he has 3 drop off locations: 

Emmanuel Baptist Church: 204 Turner St. Thomasville, NC 

Sun 9-12

First Presbyterian Church: 21 Randolph St. Thomasville, NC

Mon-Thurs 9-12

Rich Fork Church: 3993 Old Hwy 29 Thomasville, NC 

Mon-Thurs 8-4:30

Other ways to donate: 

Cash contributions accepted on the Cashapp $ADGCoatDrive

Shipping address: 409 E Davidson St. Thomasville, NC 27360