By Dawn M. Chiossi
There is nothing so comforting as bundling up in a warm coat. As temperatures drop and cool, Jersey Cares, a Livingston Organization is urging everyone out there to donate warm coats to warm others with their 23rd Annual Coat Drive, held from Nov. 1 to Dec. 12.
Then on Dec. 17, coats will be distributed. The event will be sponsored by PSE&G and Interport.
Founded in 1993, Jersey Cares envisions a New Jersey in which everyone is motivated and empowered to make a positive difference. This nonprofit organization strives to increase the level of meaningful engagement by creating meaningful projects based on critical community needs.
Donating coats is a wonderful way to pay it forward and give back.
Individuals can donate now or register to become a collection site. According to Jersey Cares, there are 13 large collection sites and hundreds of smaller, or private, collection sites statewide.
Even though the coat drive has barely begun, larger, or public collection sites include locations all over in N.J. In addition, those interested can participate in an online drive as well.
For 23 years Jersey Cares Coat Drive has facilitated the collection and distribution of thousands gently used winter coats to the men, women, children and infants in need.
Just last year alone, this organization collected and distributed more than $31,000 coats throughout N.J. and it hopes that this year even more will be donated.
This year, so far, it has had requests for just as many coats.
How it works it that various organizations including companies, churches, scouts, police stations and schools, collect coats throughout the drive and deliver them to a select location, where then volunteers will organize the coats and package them for pickup. It is then that Jersey Cares approved, non-profit partners pick them up and distribute the coats to people who need them.
So keep an eye out for centers as they pop up.
According to Vice President of External Affairs from New Jersey Cares, Michelle Dee, “These small organizations are the root of the drive, everyone all coming together to support the need in communities.
While all donations are appreciated, due to the size of the drive, it is asked that only coats will be donated. Consider donating hats, gloves, scarves or any other clothing items to a local shelter.
By registering as a collection site, organizations can offer a much-needed convenient location to donate coats and ensure that they go to those in need.
Dee, who has worked for Jersey Cares for four years, asserts that every moment of these coat drives are always special, because of making a difference. She relates the story of seeing a little boy, wearing a tee shirt, sandals and several pairs of socks on his feet.
“He was so happy with his new warm coat,” she says.
“These Coat Drives are so much more than a coat: It will help the senior citizen warm as they get their prescription at the pharmacy; it will help the children keep warm on their way to school. There’s a caring and heart behind every coat donation.”
For further information or details, or to register as a donation site, contact Jersey Cares at www.jerseycares.org.