Pilgrim Dry Cleaners is kicking off its Coats for Kids drive Sept. 14.
During the drive – which is now in its 35th year – Pilgrim’s 26 locations as well as local churches, nonprofits, schools and businesses collect coats and other gently-used winter gear. Pilgrim then cleans the coats, and donates them to nonprofits and schools for distribution.
Last year, Pilgrim collected more than 10,500 coats through the drive. This year, Pilgrim aims to collect another 10,000 coats.
Since Pilgrim’s founder Don Rosen started the drive in 1986, Pilgrim has collected, cleaned and donated more than 432,500 coats.
“I think COVID has made the need for coats much greater, as well as the recent unrest and job loss in our community,” said Laura Dizon, marketing coordinator for Pilgrim Cleaners. Thorough cleaning of the donated goods is particularly important this year, given the pandemic, she said.
“The poverty level has gone up in our state, and because people are out of jobs, and that sort of thing, it’s hard to afford winter coats,” she said.
Both children sizes and adult sizes coats are accepted during the drive, which runs through Oct. 10. “I think the biggest need is definitely the children’s coats, but there is a bunch of adult coats that are needed, so we’re hoping people will donate a variety of whatever they have,” Dizon said.
“It feels good to do good,” she said. “We need (the community’s) help. We need their help more than we have in the past. Gather what you can. Gather up any accessories. One coat helps. One coat keeps one Minnesota kid warm.”
Pilgrim Dry Cleaners accepts financial donations as part of the drive as well. All proceeds go to purchasing coats for the drive.
Check donations can be made out to Pilgrim Dry Cleaners and mailed to The Rosen Foundation, C/O Pilgrim Dry Cleaners; 3217 85 Ave. N.; Brooklyn Park, MN, 55443.
“You can set up your own little donation within the neighborhood and collect coats and drop them all off. It feels good to know that you can help many children or many adults by donating. It’s an easy thing. We can all go through our closets,” Dizon said.
Charities that receive coats include Community Emergency Assistance Programs, St. Louis Park Emergency Program, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, Western Communities Action Network, Sharing and Caring Hands, St. Paul Public Schools, Avenues for Homeless Youth, People Serving People, Park Avenue Youth and Family Services, Minneapolis Public Schools, Anoka Hennepin Schools, and Closet of Hope.
Find a Pilgrim Dry Cleaners location at pilgrimdrycleaners.com/locations.