Year in and year out San Antonio charities scramble to solicit winter coats for needy children, but there are never enough donations to meet the demand.
Several leading non-profits look to Five Star Cleaners for help because of their annual “COLD DAYS, WARM HEARTS” (CDWH) Winter Coat Project. Every year Five Star Cleaners collects, cleans and delivers winter coats to SAMMinistries, Christian Assistance Ministries (CAM) and Dress for Success. Since the company launched their coat drive more than 30 years ago, more than 114,000 coats have been collected for the homeless and under privileged.
Last year a coat hunting panic hit before Thanksgiving when Central Texas experienced an early winter cold snap with sub-freezing temperatures, and everyone was caught off guard.
Sharlene Thum, vice president and co-founder of Five Star Cleaners, says, “We typically launch our annual “COLD DAYS, WARM HEARTS” Winter Coat Project after Thanksgiving. When that early freeze hit last year, we could not respond to the charities’ pleas for help since our supply had been depleted at the beginning of the year.”
She stresses, “The need is so great, and it is just getting worse. Just last month the U.S. Census Bureau reported that one in four children in San Antonio are living below the poverty level, and that is more than in years past. A household bringing in less than $10,000 a year is considered to be living in poverty.”
In response to the constant shortage of children’s coats and the uncertainty of Texas winter weather, Thum announces that Five Star Cleaners has just completed an early and extra special initiative to address both issues.
If you need to seek donations of children’s coats, where is the best place to look? At day care centers, of course! Five Star Cleaners invited two child care center chains — KinderCare Learning Centers and La Petite Academy — to solicit donations from their children’s parents to build an inventory of children’s coats for this coming winter season. KinderCare has 9 locations around the city and La Petite has 14.
Thum says, “We are elated with the response we received from both KinderCare and La Petite. They truly came through for us. Today we are pleased to announce that even though the temperatures have ranged between 90 and 100 degrees during the last month, these parents enthusiastically responded to our appeal. Today we are picking up children’s coats which we will clean, hang on a hanger and deliver to our three very worthwhile charities,” Thum says.
KinderCare Learning Centers Director, Keith Standish, says, ““KinderCare is extremely honored to be a part of Five Star Cleaners‘ “COLD DAYS, WARM HEARTS” Winter Coat Project. Since we are in the business of serving children, we jumped at the chance to join a community outreach program that helps provide winter coats to children who need them. And to give credit where credit is due, we salute all of our parents who are the ones that made this effort a real success.”
Kim Brown, a La Petite Academy director, adds, ““We are pleased that we could be a part of Five Star Cleaners special program this year of focusing on the needs of children in our community. It provided a great opportunity for us to teach our children about caring for others and to open their hearts in a gracious and generous way.”
Thum stressed that the traditional CDWH campaign will operate on its regular schedule, running from November 30th through January 31st. Donors are invited to drop off new or gently-used men, women and children’s coats at any of the 17 convenient Five Star Cleaners stores starting on November 30th. As a gift for donating, each person receives a receipt for tax purposes and a $5 gift certificate good toward any future dry cleaning order courtesy of Five Star Cleaners.