Annual drive collects thousands of coats for kids in need

Posted at 9:48 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2022-08-23 12:01:54-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- For the past month, CBS6 has been showing the effort by Puritan Cleaners to collect coats for kids so no child wakes up on Christmas Day without a warm coat for winter.

"It's just a great feeling," Barbara Dickson with Puritan Cleaners said.

33 years after Coats For Kids first began, the annual November collection of gently loved coats is going strong.

"It grows every year. This year seems to be one of the biggest that we've had," Dickson said.

"I think we've seen more this year," Sheila Harris with Puritan Cleaners said.

Coats For Kids is more than just a slogan for the people who work at Puritan Cleaners.

"There's so much heart in it," Sara Moncrieff with Puritan Cleaners said.

For Gerri Bullock, Coats For Kids means extra work in the month of November.

"It's wonderful to fix the little sleeve or put a little button in it, fix the collar. It's great," Bullock said.

She said that the extra work is worth it come Christmas Day.

"It's going to be on a happy little face and a little body that's gonna stick the arms down in and just keep going, you know."

The appreciation for a little extra work during the month is shared among employees.

"It's a little extra work but it's not really though because you know what you're doing and you know where they're going, they're going to a good cause," Dickson said.

The cleaners collect between 13,000 and 17,000 coats for kids in need. Over the years, they have collected hundreds of thousands of coats.

"Since we started it, we have had over 500,000 coats," Moncrieff said.

But not every coat they collect has been gently loved.

"We have some customers with coats with brand new tags on them that they just went and bought brand new and that is very, very heartwarming," Frances Wood with Puritan Cleaners said.

The employees say there would be no Coats For Kids without the support of the community.

"It's all because of people in our community who took time to look in their closet, take coats that they weren't wearing anymore, kids weren't wearing anymore, donate it and give it to somebody who could use it," Moncrieff said.

The collected coats will head to the Salvation Army on December 7 after which they will be distributed, meaning come Christmas Day, children will wake up to a warm coat brought to them with love.