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Bishop Darius G. Pridgen, Colvin Cleaners desperately need coats, hats, gloves & scarves for 'Coats For Kids' distribution

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Thu, Nov 24th 2016 07:00 am

Final giveaway of winter clothing items is Saturday, Dec. 3

Bishop Darius G. Pridgen of True Bethel Baptist Church and Paul A. Billoni, president of Colvin Cleaners Inc., have a wish for all Western New York families before they say grace on Thanksgiving Day. They would like them to ask each other to look into their closets for winter coats, hats, gloves or scarves they can donate for the final "Coats For Kids" distribution of the year (Saturday, Dec. 3, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at True Bethel, 907 E. Ferry St., Buffalo).

Any family in need of winter coats for their children may participate. To select an item, while the supply lasts, all they need is their benefits card. There will be a limit of one coat per person.

Colvin Cleaners collects suitable, warm winter jackets for toddlers to young adults; and hats, scarves and gloves for families in need. The items are cleaned and organized by sizes for the distribution by the staff at the cleaners.

Donations of items can be made until Wednesday at Colvin Cleaners, 2375 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore; any of the Dash's Markets (499 West Klein Road, East Amherst; 1770 Hertel Ave., Buffalo; 8845 Main St., Clarence; and 1210 Colvin Blvd., Kenmore); or in the lobby at True Bethel.

"Unfortunately, the need is always great for so many families who just cannot afford a warm, winter coat for their kids," said Billoni, who has turned his campaign into a year-round effort through partnerships with drop-off locations at Larkin Square, Merchants Insurance, Rich Products Corp., The Boulevard Mall, UPD Dental and many local schools and churches, which have collected from employees, students and congregation members to gather garments for the Coats for Kids campaign.

Nearly 2,000 coats were distributed at Colvin Cleaners in the first distribution earlier this month.

"I know the Buffalove of our great neighbors will come through again for this much-needed program," added Billoni, president of the 85-years-young family business with 55 employees. "It is all so worthwhile when the families come in and go through the racks of coats or pick out a pair of gloves that will keep them warm this winter. When they smile and say 'Thank you,' it puts tears in your eyes."

Pridgen, who founded "The Clothes Closet," a winter clothes giveaway in a renovated school bus last year, is keenly aware of the need in his community.

"I see it everyday, especially when it is cold outside," he said. "There are many kids who do not have warm clothing, so it is up to us to take care of them and we know there will be many of them at next week's distribution."

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