YMCA, car deal­ers pro­vide coats for kids

YMCA, car deal­er­ships pro­vide win­ter coats for kids

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mar­ian Den­nis mden­nis@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mar­i­anDen­nis1 on Twit­ter

Area car deal­er­ships are help­ing kids get a jump on the cold weather this year by do­nat­ing coats.

Area car deal­er­ships are help­ing kids get a jump on the cold weather this year and they came pre­pared with just over 45,000 coats.

Vol­un­teers from area YMCAs and car deal­er­ships busily un­packed a truck loaded with boxes of coats at the Phoenixville YMCA lo­ca­tion Wed­nes­day to be dis­trib­uted be­fore the win­ter sea­son be­gins. The ef­fort was part of the Driv­ing Away The Cold Pro­gram, an ini­tia­tive by the Philadel­phia Auto Show and the Auto Deal­ers CAR­ing for Kids Foun­da­tion, that gath­ers car deal­ers in the five-county Philadel­phia area to do­nate new coats to less for­tu­nate chil­dren.

“It’s stag­ger­ing to think that one in six chil­dren in the five­county area of Philadel­phia live in poverty. This equates to more than 174,000 chil­dren. Sadly, a new win­ter coat is one of the es­sen­tial items these chil­dren of­ten live with­out,” said Don Franks of JL Freed Honda and pres­i­dent of the Auto Deal­ers CAR­ing for Kids Foun­da­tion. “Through our Driv­ing Away The Cold ef­fort, we are try­ing to change that.”

On Wed­nes­day, the Phoenixville Area YMCA re­ceived 1,794 new coats, which was part of a big­ger do­na­tion to the Philadel­phia Free­dom Val­ley YMCA, which will be re­ceiv­ing 12,156 coats. Coats will be given to more than 125 dif­fer­ent so­cial

ser­vices agen­cies, shel­ters, af­ter-school pro­grams, re­gional YMCAs and other places. In Ch­ester County, 5,922 coats are ex­pected to be dis­trib­uted.

“It’s so im­por­tant. You don’t re­al­ize the num­ber of kids that go to school with­out a coat ev­ery day, es­pe­cially in this area where win­ters can be very dif­fi­cult, very tough,“said Stephen Kelly, owner and op­er­a­tor of Kelly Chevro­let in Phoenixville. “We just think it is so im­por­tant to be in­volved in the com­mu­ni­ties that sup­port us by try­ing to sup­port them.”

Kel­ley’s deal­er­ship has been par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gram since it be­gan and is one of the 38 in Ch­ester County and 175 to­tal that are par­tic­i­pat­ing this year. Since the pro­gram be­gan in 2008, a to­tal of 265, 252 new coats have been given to chil­dren in the re­gion.

“It’s phe­nom­e­nal,” said Deirdre Wood, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at the Phoenixville YMCA. “When you see chil­dren who might have gone cold in the win­ter and they’re wear­ing these coats, it makes you feel good that we’ve done some­thing to help them. We’re pro­vid­ing them a safe place to come for ed­u­ca­tion, for af­ter-school pro­grams but to be able to help them by giv­ing them some­thing to be able to keep them warm through the win­ter, it’s phe­nom­e­nal. It’s an amaz­ing feel­ing.”

MAR­IAN DEN­NIS — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Vol­un­teers from area YMCAs un­pack a truck full of boxes con­tain­ing win­ter coats for chil­dren. The coats are be­ing dis­trib­uted as part of the Driv­ing Away The Cold pro­gram.

MAR­IAN DEN­NIS — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

A Driv­ing Away The Cold Truck pulls up out­side the Phoenixville YMCA to de­liver over 1,000 coats to be dis­trib­uted to area chil­dren be­fore win­ter.

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