Pilgrim Dry Cleaners, now in the 34th year of its Coats for Kids drive, is hoping to collect 10,000 coats in this year’s drive.

During the drive, which runs through Oct. 12, Pilgrim collects and cleans gently used coats and other winter accessories, and then gives them to charities or other organizations that distribute them to those in need.

This year, drive sponsor Flyover America, the Mall of America-based thrill ride which presents riders with a coast-to-coast bird’s eye view of the country, donated tickets to Pilgrim for the drive.

As a result, Pilgrim is giving away a free pass to Flyover America to anyone who donates a coat at one of Pilgrim’s 27 locations, limit four per person, while supplies last on Thursday, Oct. 10.

“Last year, we teamed up with [Flyover America] to help us receive more coats,” said Keona Tranby, director of marketing and customer relations for Pilgrim. “They were kind enough to provide us with free passes for their virtual experience at Mall of America.”

“We enjoy partnering with Pilgrim Cleaners on their Coats for Kids campaign,” said Courtney Sieberg, marketing manager for Flyover America. “It’s a great way to get involved and give back to our community. This is our second year partnering with them. We were connected through a contact at iHeartmedia.”

More coats are needed if Pilgrim is going to meet its collecting goal.

“So far, we have only collected 3,000 coats so we are a bit behind our goal of 10,000,” Tranby said. “The charities are on a waiting list hoping we will receive enough coats to meet their needs as they have already requested more coats that what we anticipate receiving. We need to get a large push of donations before our drive ends to help us get closer to our goal.”

Tranby said that in past drives, monetary donations have helped schools provide students with new coats, keeping them warm and bringing joy.

“The schools who receive the coat donations in recent years thanks to our generous monetary donations have been able to give out brand new coats to their students so they can be warm at the bus stop and stop being teased for their too-small, ripped, or stained coats they currently have to wear to school,” she said. “They feel the love from other people who cared enough to make a donation to Coats for Kids. The smile a lot of these kids have on their faces when they are putting on their brand new coat for the first time instead of the usual hand me downs they are used to receiving is just a tremendous thing to see! It gives them hope for their future and they feel more accepted and comfortable while they try to get their education.”

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