With a global pandemic stretching family budgets in unexpected ways this year, the coats donated to Community Emergency Assistance Programs through the Pilgrim Dry Cleaners Coats for Kids drive are a “godsend,” said Clare Brumback, CEO of Brooklyn Center-based Community Emergency Assistance Programs.

During the drive, Pilgrim Dry Cleaners and their partner organizations across the Twin Cities collect coats and other gently used winter wear. Pilgrim then cleans the coats and donates them to nonprofits for distribution. The drive runs through Saturday, Oct. 10

Serving the northwest suburbs, Community Emergency Assistance Programs – or CEAP – received and distributed approximately 1,000 coats through the drive last year, and hopes to receive a similar number this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for financial assistance in the community, Brumback said.

“A lot of families because of our situation with COVID-19, budgets are very tight,” she said. “They can’t afford them this year, so this will be a great option for those families to make sure their kids have a warm, wonderful coat.”

“Everything has an increased need this year,” Brumback continued. “The number of families who have unexpectedly faced economic hardship where one or both parents are unable to work because of business closures – and we want to make sure that will improve – but while we’re working through that, we want to make sure that we’re attending to basic needs: shelter, food, and a warm coat, which in Minnesota, is a basic need.”

Under non-pandemic circumstances, CEAP’s clients could select a coat for themselves or a family member while visiting CEAP for other services. However, due to COVID-19, the nonprofit is working to determine a safe way to distribute the coats this year.

“We’re looking at doing some other kinds of distribution that might be closer to needing outdoor distribution this year, weather permitting,” Brumback said. “That’s what we’re figuring out.”

“They love (the coats),” Brumback said. “They’re the highest quality, perfectly cleaned, in good, excellent condition.”

Since its founding 35 years ago, Pilgrim has collected and donated 432,500 coats through the drive. Pilgrim aims to collect 10,000 coats this year.

Both child and adult size coats are being accepted during the drive. 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.

Coat donations can be dropped off at any of Pilgrim’s 26 locations.

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