A GIFT OF WARMTH
Local auto dealers team up to ‘Drive Away the Cold’ for children in need
EAST NORRITON >> Responding to an ongoing need, auto dealers from across the region are once again stepping up to make sure kids in need stay warm this winter.
In the coming weeks, 51,696 brand-new winter coats will be distributed by the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation — as part of its annual Driving Away the Cold initiative.
The effort, now in its 11th year, involves 180 local auto dealers across the Greater Philadelphia region, including 37 dealers from Chester County, 54 dealers from Montgomery County and 21 dealers from Delaware County.
When the program started in 2008, the goal was to have a program the dealers members could support, and that “focused on improving the lives of young, area kids,” according to Kevin Mazzucola, executive director of the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation.
“We did a ton of research and found out that warm winter coats is one of the most requested items from social services agencies, school nurses, etc.,” added Mary Lynn Alvarino, CFO and Director of Operations at Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia & Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation.
“That first year, we distributed a total of 18,000 new coats throughout the five-county region of Philadelphia. This year, we will do nearly three times that,” Mazzucola added. “Clearly and unfortunately, the need is present, and we are committed to doing our part to help with that.”
One in six children in the Greater Philadelphia region lives in poverty, according to a press release, and a warm winter coat is one of the essential items they often live without.
The 180 Driving Away the Cold participants conduct a pledge program to help raise funds to purchase the brandnew winter coats, which are engineered to last with deep pockets, detachable hoods and a soft fleece lining, according to Alvarino. The Auto Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia also plays a part by donating $2.00 from every Philadelphia Auto Show ticket sold to its Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation in support of the effort.
The pledged coats are then distributed through 220 social services agencies, school districts, churches, shelters, etc. in the area. Twenty-nine local YMCAs also serve as signature coat distribution partners.
The first coat delivery event was held Oct. 9 at the Phoenixville YMCA, where 1,100 new coats were delivered. Representatives from John Kennedy Ford Phoenixville, Wynn Volkswagen and Wynn Volvo Cars Norristown were on hand to present the coats to staff of the YMCA. A second event was held Oct. 12 at the Haverford YMCA.
Ten additional distribution events will be held across the WARMTH >> PAGE 2
Over the next couple of weeks, the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation will deliver to area agencies, more than 51,000 winter coats for kids in need. It is the 11th years for the Driving Away the Cold initiative, which provides brand-new winter coats to area children who need them most. In this file photo, West Chester Area YMCA staff members unload coats during the 2017 Driving Away the Cold initiative.