A Tale of Kids Helping Kids that Will Warm Your Heart

Amity Teen Center arranges for 1,500 new coats to be distributed to area kids in need.

Sometimes in the dark of winter, it’s especially nice to hear a story that makes you feel warm all over. Today we have just the thing for you – a tale of kids doing good things for other kids, strangers stepping up to help out and a touch of serendipity to pull it all together at the end. It goes like this . . .

A few months ago the kids at the wanted to do something nice for the community, so they decided to have a Coats for Kids drive in which people could drop off coats they no longer needed, and those in need of a coat could come and pick one up. It was a slow start, but as of early January, a dozen donated coats were hanging on a rack behind the front desk, and occasionally someone would stop by and choose one. And then, someone mentioned a program in Pennsylvania called Operation Warm.

Operation Warm provides brand new coats to children for FREE. The only tiny catch is a 42-cent per coat handling charge, and recipients are required to handle shipping.

ATC board member Linda Cohen said a phone call quickly brought good news; Operation Warm agreed to send just over 1,000 coats for them to distribute to area children in need.

“We sent out a notice with an application to the various organizations at the end of last week,” Cohen said, “and in only a few days we had to stop taking orders because every coat was reserved.”

Cohen said ATC placed another call to Operation Warm and again got good news – they were told they could send a total of 1,500 new coats for distribution. Cohen said the rest were snapped up immediately.

But how to get them here? The teen center already needed to raise more than $600 for handling costs. How would they find funding to ship more than 200 boxes of coats to Connecticut?

It’s rare for so many puzzle pieces to click into place as easily as they have for this project, but . . . through a local connection, William Joyce and Richard Cohen, of Joyce Van Lines, were told about the situation. In another perfect piece of serendipity, it turned out the shipping company had an empty truck scheduled to drive to this state, and they offered to deliver the coats free of charge.

Linda Cohen said they expect them to be loaded onto the truck tomorrow.

“I don’t know where we’re going to put all those boxes,” Cohen said. “It’ll be a logistical nightmare! But the kids are going to help unload and sort them and package them up for distribution, and it should go quickly.”

And if this story doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy (but mostly warm!) well, you just may need to go get yourself a brand new winter coat.

ATC has already collected donations to cover about half the handling costs. Any further donations would be greatly appreciated. Checks should be made out to Amity Teen Center and mailed to P.O. Box 3671, Woodbridge, CT, 06525.



jane opper January 27, 2012 at 03:38 PM
I want to thank Kathleen and Terri so much for posting this story! The kids are great who are participating in the coat drive. A wonderful character-building project for them to be involved in! Thanks to our staff and our new Board members who have helped them to organize this. Any donations that can be made will be appreciated by all of us!
Jack Nork January 27, 2012 at 04:28 PM
The Amity Teen Center is a wonderful resource for the teens of Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge. It's so great to see the Teen are so excited to help the greater New Haven community! The Teen Center still has several girls coats to give out to community organizations. If you know of an organization that needs brand new girls coats in greater New Haven please have them visit http://www.amityteencenter.org and click on the coat donation request form on the home page.


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