Unpredictable weather shifts and increased economic insecurity seem to be factors in an earlier than usual demand for cold weather outerwear by area shelters and community centers. In response, Best Cleaners is kicking off its 11th annual Coats For Connecticut community collection with an increased sense of urgency and a more streamlined, efficient collection process. We are still aiming to collect, clean and deliver tens of thousands of donated coats, as in past years, but to do so by concentrating the effort over one month instead of two. In fact, the first delivery of donated and cleaned coats has already been made to local Salvation Army centers, well before the official November 7 campaign kickoff date. The general public is urged to drop off gently-used coats and jackets by November 23 at any Best Cleaners location in Berlin, Bristol, Canton, Farmington, Glastonbury, Middletown, North Haven, Old Lyme, Plainville, Rocky Hill, Simsbury, and Windsor. Outerwear for all ages and in all sizes is needed, especially children’s coats.
Confidence in meeting the demand is high given the overwhelming generosity of the community at large and Best’s campaign partners. In addition to the Salvation Army, Coats For Connecticut sponsors include Eyewitness News WFSB-TV3, Young’s Printing/Fast Signs, and Two Men And A Truck. Their support of the campaign continues to increase awareness of the growing need in the community and the relative ease of donating to the program. Donations from schools, churches, and businesses conducting their own coat drives are also encouraged and have been a big factor in helping keep Connecticut warm for the past 10 years. All donated coats are cleaned for free and delivered weekly shelters and centers in Bridgeport, Bristol, Hartford, Meriden, Middletown, New Britain, New Haven, New London and Waterbury for distribution to individuals and families struggling to get through the cold winter months. Since the campaign’s inception in 2008, more than 107,000 coats have been collected, cleaned and delivered.