Clean Coats, Warm Hearts – Tewksbury Patch

One of the draws of living in New England is the beautiful rusty red and mustard orange leaves on the trees during foliage.

However, it is also the first sign of winter, and according to the Farmers’ Almanac, this winter there will be “more days of shivery conditions” then past winters.

Unfortunately, with the frigid forecast predicted and the bitter economic times, more children and adults will find themselves without a warm coat to wear during the long winter months in Massachusetts.

But thanks to Coats for Kids and Anton’s Cleaners many people will be able to have a warm winter coat.

On Oct. 11, Anton’s Cleaners, with 43 stores throughout Eastern Massachusetts, including Tewksbury (Stadium Plaza, 10 Main St.), will kick off the 16th annual Coats for Kids campaign. Coats for Kids is a community relations program, which annually distributes gently-worn coats to those in need.

“It is a good fit for what we do, and we were brought up to always give back to the community,” Arthur Anton Jr. said. “Since we began, it has grown and grown as there is more of a need. We started our first year with 2,000 coats, last year we had close to 60,000.”

Since the program began in 1994, Anton’s has collected, cleaned free of charge and distributed over 620,000 gently-worn winter coats to men, women and children who would otherwise be without one.

Anton said they got involved with Coats for Kids because it was a good match for their business, they had not realized how great the need was. As the economy got even worse, more and more people found themselves unable to get a winter coat and they were determined to provide everyone in need with a warm coat.

Last year, over 250 schools and 300 supporting partners also participated in the collection process, with donated coats being distributed by social service agencies throughout Eastern Massachusetts.

“The drive has grown by getting schools and other businesses involved, which I believe is important for community service,” Anton said. “Many people have coats not used or kids outgrow them, people see the drive and have a couple coats to donate, it becomes a great teaching lesson. It is important for customers to get involved in community service.”

To donate to Coats for Kids, simply drop off a coat at 10 Main St., Stadium Plaza or any Anton’s Cleaners location, they will clean the coat free of charge and have it picked up by Coats for Kids.

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