Anton’s Cleaners has kept thousands of children warm this winter season with its 16th annual Coats for Kids drive.
Donations began Oct. 11 at all of Anton’s 43 locations in the Greater Boston and Southern N.H. areas.
Anton’s hopes to collect 60,000 winter coats by Jan. 8.
“We take the coats in and we clean them in our stores,” said Arthur Anton, Jr., Anton’s Cleaners chief operating officer.
Once the coats are cleaned, they are distributed to partners including MASSCAP, Salvation Army, The Community Giving Tree, Community Teamwork Inc., The Lowell Wish Project, Southern N.H. Services, and Catholic Charities who work hard to assure that every person who needs a warm coat receives one.
“Our distributing partners do a great job making sure they deliver coats to as many children as they can,” said Anton, who was not sure how many coats had been collected to date.
Businesses, such as Enterprise Bank, got involved, collecting winter coats at all of its 17 locations starting after Labor Day. They were able to contribute 400 coats this year.
“When we would reach 250 we’d raise it to 300, and when we reached 300 we’d make it 325,” said Mary Ellen Fitzpatrick, senior vice president of Enterprise Bank. “You know, there’s always a spare coat in your closet you’re not using.”
The bank was so involved they devoted a whole room in the bank to storing the coats.
“A lot of local schools partake in the program to get involved in community service,” said Anton.
The drive has grown dramatically since 1994, when only 2,000 coats were donated, according to Anton.
Last year, Coats for Kids collected close to 58,000 winter coats.
Anton’s Cleaners has cleaned and distributed more than 620,000 winter coats since the drive began.
Promotional partners FOX25, Kiss 108, and Jordan’s Furniture play a major role in spreading the word to the public.
Jordan’s Furniture accepts winter coats at all store locations and awards a $1,200 prize to the first place elementary and middle schools who collect the most winter coats. Jordan’s Furniture also gives tickets to the Verizon IMAX 3D Theater to the winning Girl Scout and Boy Scout troop that collects the most support.
“The generosity of people really allows us to do this,” said Anton.