YMCA, car dealers provide coats for kids
YMCA, car dealerships provide winter coats for kids
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.”
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.
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.