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105 comforters given to needy York County families

Kirby Sawyer had no doubt that as soon as she got home on Saturday, the five youngest members of the Sawyer clan would ask, beg and plead for her to outfit their beds with five new polka dot and space rocket-themed blankets. Not that the 26-year-old mother of five was complaining.

Sawyer, alongside her five children - all blue-eyed with blond hair - scurried into Family Promise of York County to reap the benefits of the nonprofit's latest charity: more than 105 free comforters were distributed to needy York County families.

Dubbed the "Magnificent Seven" by the people who work there, the Sawyer parents and their children entered the Family Promise program at the beginning of 2010.

At the time, Kirby Sawyer was pregnant with twins.

By October of that year, she gave birth to David and Summer and the family successfully entered Section 8 housing.

"They taught us a different way of saving our money that we hadn't thought about before," Sawyer said.

So when the opportunity came to get free comforters donated by the Company Store, Sawyer and her family didn't hesitate.

Neither did 35 other families which received free comforters on Saturday.

Jennifer Coye, director of Family Promise of York County, said she received 200 comforters almost two weeks ago in preparation for Saturday's distribution.

By the end of the day, 105 were gone, with the rest stored at the agency for future guests and giveaways.

The Rock Hill School District identified families participating in the Back the Pack food program and referred them for comforters. The Rock Hill's Utilities Department also suggested families that could profit from free blankets, Coye said.

Members of the board of directors, including the City of Rock Hill's "light bill lady" Carol Harvey and seven-year board member Craig Thomas, were on hand to take comforters to families unable to pick them up.

"There's a need to provide any type of item to a family," Thomas said. "There are plenty (people) without enough shelter, enough food, enough cover."

When the national Family Promise organization formed a partnership with the Company Store, each local branch had the opportunity to participate in a promotion called "Buy One Give One."

York County's branch signed up, and Coye ordered 200 comforters for the area, Thomas said.

Central to Family Promise's mission is providing shelter, meals, support and other services to families while helping them get on their feet, Coye said.

The agency doesn't support singles, but helps families and couples that may not qualify for other agencies.