Wilmington cleaners kicks off Coats for Kids

With the Farmer’s Almanac predicting one of our coldest winters in many years, Anton’s Cleaners, which has locations in Tewksbury and Wilmington, kicks off its 16th annual Coats for Kids winter coat drive on Oct. 11, with the goal of collecting 60,000 coats to be distributed to those in need throughout eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Coat collections run through Jan. 8, 2011.

“The goal of Coats for Kids is to make certain that the strong demand for warm coats is matched by the even stronger generosity of our neighbors throughout the region,” said Charles A. Anton, CEO of Anton’s Cleaners. “Coats for Kids has become a true community event, attracting hundreds of schools, businesses and local organizations who want to become involved. We could not have accomplished what we have over the past 15 years without all of their support.”

Over the past 15 years, more than 620,000 adult and children’s coats have been collected and cleaned at no charge by Anton’s Cleaners. Although that amounts to enough coats to outfit practically every single person living in the city of Boston, every year there are stillthousands of men, women and children who desperately need a warm winter coat.

“We need children and adult coats that are in useable condition, free of rips, missing buttons, permanent stains or broken zippers,” Anton said.

Last year, nearly 60,000 coats were collected, cleaned and donated to those in need through a network of distribution partners that will once again include Massachusetts Community Action Programs (MASSCAP), Salvation Army, Rosie’s Place, Middlesex Human Service Agency, The Wish Project, Community Giving Tree, Mental Health Association of Greater Lowell, Catholic Charities, Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Lutheran Social Services of New England, to name just a few.

The Coats for Kids drive has the support of a group Promotional Partners, including FOX25, KISS-108, Gatehouse Media and Jordan’s Furniture, which is opening its four locations — Avon, Natick, Reading, and Nashua, N.H. — as drop-off points for coats. In addition, Jordan’s Furniture will donate $1,200 worth of furniture and a $500 worth of gift certificate from Paul’s TV to the winning elementary and middle schools in the School Rewards program, as well as tickets to its IMAX theater for the winning middle school.

The School Rewards program promotes the collection in elementary and middle schools, which continue to be a driving force for Coats for Kids. Last year, nearly 300 schools participated in the program. The top three schools collecting the highest number of coats per students enrolled received prizes, including school supply gift certificates, pizza parties, ice cream sundae parties, and visits from a FOX25 meteorologist. Returning as supporting partners are Graham Communications, Package Supply Corporation and Enterprise Bank.

To find an Anton’s Cleaners near you, to register to become a collection partner, or to register an elementary or middle school for participation in the School Rewards competition, visit www.antons.com/cfk or call the Coats for Kids hotline at 800-659-0069. Become a fan on Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/coatsforkids and clicking the “like” button at the top of the page.

Anton’s Cleaners is a family-owned, Massachusetts business that first opened its doors in Lowell in 1913. Today, 97 years later, the company has 43 dry cleaning stores throughout Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Anton’s Cleaners is the recipient of the Massachusetts Family Business Award and Enterprise Bank’s Celebration of Excellence Award.

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