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'Coats 4 Kids': Unprecedented demand leaves drive in need

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Tue, Nov 19th 2019 04:05 pm

First day distribution of over 5,000 free coats outpaces donations

As a result of distributing a one-day record high of more than 5,200 coats at its first free Colvin Cleaners “Coats 4 Kids” event on Nov. 4, a desperate need for kids’ coats exists for the two remaining free coat distributions. As a result, Colvin Cleaners is again reaching out to the community for donations of gently used kids’ coats, while also providing the option of purchasing coats online or making cash donations for the purchase of coats.

“At this point, it’s very likely that we will not have enough coats for every child who comes through the door at our next two distributions. Having a winter coat for every child has always been our mission with this project,” said Christopher Billoni, vice president of Colvin Cleaners. “We gave away more coats in the first hour last week than we did in three hours last year. And while the families were extremely appreciative, we were overwhelmed by the number of people in this community who came in need of coats and winter accessories.”

The next free “Coats 4 Kids” distribution will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at True Bethel Baptist Church, 907 East Ferry St., Buffalo. That will be followed by a final distribution Saturday, Dec. 7, at The Belle Center, 104 Maryland St., Buffalo. There is limit of one coat per person, and proper identification is needed.

Donations of coats, gloves, hats, scarves and boots for the 24th annual “Coats 4 Kids” program, sponsored by The Allstate Foundation, can be made at Colvin Cleaners, 2375 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore; and many of the local Allstate Insurance agencies. For a complete listing and addresses of all donation sites, visit www.coats4kidswny.com.

Additionally, for the first time, Colvin Cleaners is accepting cash donations that will be used to purchase new coats. Donations can be made online at www.coats4kidswny.com or through the Colvin Cleaners Facebook page. A receipt will be automatically sent to the donor and 100% of all donations will be used to purchase coats. “Coats 4 Kids” is a registered 501(c)(3).

Anyone who would like to order kids’ coats through their favorite online store, such as Amazon, Target, Walmart, Kohls, can have them delivered directly to Colvin Cleaners at 2375 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore, NY 14217; and marked Attn: Coats 4 Kids.

“The freezing cold and snow we are experiencing now reminds us of the reality of our winters. This program is all about every child having a warm coat, gloves, hat and boots. We are confident this community of great neighbors will come through again to help us fill our racks with kids’ coats,” said Erica Billoni of Colvin Cleaners.

Over the past 23 years, Colvin Cleaners has collected, cleaned, sorted and distributed – for free – more than 105,000 coats to kids and families in need throughout WNY.

Colvin Cleaners was founded by Phil Billoni nearly 90 years ago. His brothers, Tony and Santo, worked in the business for over 50 years. Tony’s son, Paul, has worked there for 42 years. His son, Christopher, is vice president and the third-generation member of the family business.

Colvin Cleaners is the only WNY dry-cleaners to use the environmentally friendly Green Earth cleaning solution. For more information, visit www.colvincleaners.com.

Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation. For more information, visit www.AllstateFoundation.org.

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