‘So much more than a coat’

Sheriff drops off winter clothing at Gardner’s CAC

Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, left, speaks with Julie Meehan, right, executive director at the Gardner CAC, Wednesday.

Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, left, speaks with Julie Meehan, right, executive director at the Gardner CAC, Wednesday.

GARDNER — More than 100 winter coats, as well as snow pants and winter boots, were delivered to the Gardner Community Action Committee’s office on Wednesday morning.

“Winter coats do matter,” said Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis. “This is so much more than a coat.”

The Sheriff’s Annual Winter Coat Drive has so far collected more than 1,500 coats this year, up from the 1,300 brought in last year. Mr. Evangelidis was busy this week delivering the coats to the many communities in Worcester County where families need help.

“This is an incredible honor be a part of this,” he said.

The coat drive started last month, and numerous businesses, local clubs and individuals have stepped up to help, Mr. Evangelidis said.

“The response from the community has been really successful,” he said.

Gardner’s CAC Executive Director Julie Meehan expects all of the coats to be gone by the end of the week. She said many of her clients have been calling, looking for a warm coat for a child in their family.

If a client comes in for another service and they need a coat, the staff at the CAC will help them pick out a coat and other warm clothing, she said.

Gardner’s CAC helps about 13,000 people annually, Ms. Meehan said. The number ticks ups significantly closer to the holidays, with 1,000 people a month coming for help starting in October.

Wachusett Mountain, Independent Cleaners, the Fitchburg Officer of Community Corrections and the Worcester County Reserve Deputy Sheriff’s Association, as well as many businesses and individuals, helped get the coats that are being distributed this year.

“This program would not be possible without their overwhelming generosity,” Mr. Evangelidis said.

By: Damien Fisher
The Gardner New, 12-6-2012