News photo by STEVE NYBERG
Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, center, addresses those on hand for the annual Winter Coat Drive kick-off event at The Gardner Museum, Wednesday.
News Staff Writer
GARDNER — Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis’ annual Winter Coat Drive kicked off Wednesday at The Gardner Museum, which will serve as one of the main drop-off centers this season.
“One of my favorite things that we do every year is the coat drive. There is such a need in the community. It far exceeds what we are able to contribute. We are doing what we can,” the sheriff said. “It helps that we have so many great partners. Over the years, Wachusett Mountain has been our biggest donor, literally hundreds of coats — 500 to 1,000 at a time. They get us started. We also see such a great outpouring from communities such as Gardner.”
According to Mr. Evangelidis, last year’s campaign was a “great success” as more than 1,500 new and lightly used jackets were collected and distributed to families in need throughout the region.
“As many families continue to struggle during the winter months and especially during these tough economic times, winter coat donations are important this year more than ever,” he said.
For the third year in a row, the Gardner Community Action Committee will serve as the pickup location for the city and surrounding communities.
“I think the coat drive is wonderful. It is a huge asset to our community,” said CAC Director Julie Meehan.
“The donation of these new and lightly used jackets represents more than just a winter coat. They provide our clients with warmth, as well as a feeling of pride and self worth.”
The coat drive, initially launched as a volunteer effort through the Worcester County Reserve Deputy Sheriff’s Association, is set to run through early December.