RICHMOND, Va. -- Every November Puritan Cleaners strives to help Richmond families stay warm with its Coats for Kids fundraiser.
This was CBS 6 Anchor GeNienne Samuels’ first year participating in all the fun events collecting coats at local schools and Saturday’s Ballpark Warming Party at the Diamond, where a new record was set with more than 2,200 coats collected in just a few short hours.
At Puritan Cleaners in Scott’s Addition, the Wash, Dry, and Fold Team put in overtime to get the coats ready for families.
The Coast for Kids van was parked outside with close to 800 coats still waiting to be washed.
First, the team unloaded the van, sorted the coats into piles of new, dry clean only, and washable; and also checked the pockets to ensure nothing was left behind.
Next, the washable coats were loaded into the washer, and then the dryer. In the final step, each coat was hung and tagged.
They are now clean and ready to go!
During the Coats for Kids season, the Wash, Dry, and Fold Team works their regular shifts and then spends extra time dedicated to cleaning the donated coats.
Lakesha Battle told CBS 6 she arrives at 5 a.m. and doesn’t leave until 5 p.m. most days.
“12 hours. It is worth it. It’s worth it because we know we’re helping the community out. And kids in need of coats," Battle said.
She said she feels blessed knowing she can help others. "Because we can help others who are in need of coats. I feel grateful," Battle said. “It really touches your heart. Knowing that you’re able to help someone in need. And I’m glad me and my team is willing to do it.”
Close to 17,000 coats have been touched, cleaned, and prepped so far by dedicated Puritan team members like Lakesha, Timasia, BT, Darlene, Rita, and Belle.
Production mentor Barbara Dickson says it’s a labor of love.
“They are washing the coats. Drying them. Putting them on hangers getting them ready for The Salvation Army. And they do this every day after they do their regular job," Dickson said.
Barbara has been a part of the Coats for Kids fundraiser since its inception in 1988. She said it’s the best part of her job and the best time of year working for Puritan. She shared that none of this would be possible without the community.
Dickson says she wants to thank the community for continuing to donate every year.
“We would love to thank the community for every year donating coats. We get new coats and gently used coats. Without the community, we couldn’t make it happen.”
Now that all of the coats are cleaned, hung, and tagged, they will be stored for distribution on December 6 to the Salvation Army Christmas Center. This location will be turned into a big shopping room for families to come and pick out the perfect coat for everyone.
There’s still time to drop off any and all new or gently used coats at any of the 14 Puritan locations. They are accepting coats for all ages until the end of November.
To learn more information, you can click here.
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