Dec 17, 2014

Warm Gifts for the Winter Season

Warm gifts for the winter season


Katie Landeck

News Staff Writer


News Staff Photos by KATIE LANDECK

GARDNER – Staff from Sheriff Lew Evangelidis office, as well as the sheriff himself, carried hundreds of winter coats, hats, gloves and snow boots into the Gardner Community Action Center’s office on Wednesday morning.

The Sheriff’s Annual Winter Coat Drive has provided thousands of people with new and lightly used winter gear.

Sheriff Evangelidis said every time he is out delivering the coats, he remembers the simple thank you a girl, who looked to be about 13, gave him when he handed her a coat.

“She said, ‘it’s so much more than just a coat,’” he said. “I always think of her … I’ve been cold plenty of times, but I’ve never had to be cold.”

The coat drives helps make sure people don’t have to be cold.

This year, the Sheriff said more than 3,000 coats were collected, making it the most successful coat to date. At the kickoff event in October, Wachusett Mountain Ski Area lended the drive a major boost when they donated 1,500 coats.

In addition to the CAC, the coats will be distributed to the Cleghorn & Spanish American Centers, the Hope Center of Fitchburg, The Friendly House of Worcester, Rutland Food Pantry, Saint Anne’s Food Pantry in Shrewsbury and Tradewinds of Southbridge.

While the economy has shown some signs of recovery, Sheriff Evangelidis said there is still a lot of need in the region.
News Staff Photo by Katie LandeckThe office of Sheriff Lew Evangelidis, above, collected 3,000 coats this year, setting a new record.

The office of Sheriff Lew Evangelidis, above, collected 3,000 coats this year, setting a new record.

“We can’t even meet the need of the community,” he said. “But we can help.”

Last winter, the Gardner CAC ran out of coats midway through the winter. Julie Meehan, the executive director of the CAC, said people had already started calling and asking when winter coats would become available.

“It’s so cold in the houses, people are sleeping in their coats now,” she said. She estimated the majority of the coats will be distributed within the next three weeks.

Several local businesses, including the Gardner Museum, Wachusett Mountain, and Hannaford Supermarkets, partnered with the Sheriff’s office to help collect the coats.

“It takes a tremendous amount of coordination,” said Mayor Mark Hawke, while thanking people who contributed.

He said that he cleaned out his own closets, after seeing children on the playground in 30 degree weather without a winter coat.

“All they have is sweatshirt,” he said.

People who wish to donate additional coats can drop them off at the Gardner CAC, located above the Senior Center at 294 Pleasant St.

Nov 25, 2014

Sheriff’s 9th Annual Food Drive Brings in 200,000 Pounds of Food

Sheriff’s 9th Annual Food Drive
Brings in 200,000 Pounds of Food
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Patrick Sargent, GoLocal Worcester Contributor

From left to right: Michael Gross, General Manager of Harr Toyota, Lew Evangelidis, Worcester County Sheriff, Finz from Worcester Sharks, Gordon Hargrove of the Friendly House, Michael Myers of the Worcester Sharks
On Monday morning at the Friendly House in Worcester, local needy families received their Thanksgiving meals and winter coats for their children. At the 9th Annual Worcester County Sheriff Food Drive, 200,000 tons of food were donated by several local businesses and organizations, and by the residents of Worcester. 325 winter coats were donated by Harr Toyota.
“It means the world to me,” said Worcester resident Melissa Dellomo. “I’m struggling to get by. I’m barely working and I’m having trouble paying child support. This will save me $50 to $75 and that doesn’t include what I’ll save on the coats I will receive.”

2,000 Residents to Receive Food

“The Sheriff’s Annual Food Drive has a great tradition of giving back and this year over 200,000 pounds of donated food items were collected which will provide a wonderful Thanksgiving meal to over 2,000 local families in need during the holiday season,” said Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.
The food will be distributed by the Friendly House, a local non-profit neighborhood and outreach center. “This is the most food we’ve ever seen in all the years I’ve been here. Over the holidays, we will be able to help at least 2,000 families. This year, rather than just only giving a turkey, we have provided whole meals,” said Gordon Hargrove, Executive Director of Friendly House. Hargrove has been at the Friendly House since 1957.
Josephine Velez, the Director of Social Services at Friendly House, has been at the Friendly House for over 30 years. Velez said, “This is excellent. It’s wonderful. There are 325 brand new jackets and this is the second year in a row we’ve been able to give the kids brand new jackets. Its the winter. There are so many families not able to pay rent or bills. Now they will at least have their children warm for the winter.”

Partners in Charity

The sponsors of this year’s food drive include Price Chopper, Worcester County Food Bank, WPI Fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha, Fallon Community Healthcare, Worcester Academy, DiMitria Delights, 2 Ovens Restaurant, David Gibbs and Family, Charter TV3, WCRN, Harr Toyota, and other private donors.
Senior Whole Health donated bags to hold the Thanksgiving meals being handed out. Price Chopper did a week-long collection, collecting 1,100 pounds of food.
Harr Toyota provided the hundreds of winter jackets. “Harr has been in the community since the 1940’s,” said Michael Gross, General Manager. “We are proud to be part of such a well-run event.”
WPI’s Lambda Chi Alpha collected over 10,000 pounds of food from Worcester residents. “The kids from WPI are unbelievable,” said Michael Myers, Senior Director of Business and Community Development for the Worcester Sharks. “They literally hung bags on every door in Worcester. They asked the people to fill it and all the kids had to do was come by and pick it up.”
“We are all partners in this food drive,” said Evangelidis. “The sheriff’s office is just blessed to be the coordinator.”

Oct 16, 2014

‘Much More Than A Coat’

‘Much more than a coat’

Sheriff launches annual drive to keep needy warm

Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, standing rear at center, joins members of local groups helping in the annual Winter Coat Drive during a

UPDATED:   10/16/2014 06:53:07 AM EDT

By Michael Hartwell,

Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, standing rear at center, joins members of local groups helping in the annual Winter Coat Drive during a kick-off ceremony at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area Wednesday morning. The groups are Warmer Winters, Rutland Knitting Group, Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, the Spanish American Center in Leominster and the Hope Center in Fitchburg. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / JOHN LOVE 

Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMugsite.

PRINCETON — Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis was at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area Wednesday to help kick off a program that will help impoverished people in the area button, fasten and zip up new coats this winter.


Each year his office holds its annual Winter Coat Drive, where members of the public can donate new and lightly used winter jackets from now until mid-November. In December, they will be distributed to needy people through community support organizations.


Evangelidis said last year they provided 2,000 coats and jackets throughout Worcester County. One of those was to a 13-year-old girl who told him she had never owned a new coat before. She told him, “This is so much more than a coat,” said Evangelidis.


David Crowley of Wachusett Mountain Ski Area announced that the ski mountain is donating 1,500 coats to the program. Most of them were obtained from a ski equipment swap event in which people who donated items were given free lift tickets to the ski area.


Last year. the sheriff’s office joined forces with the Leominster nonprofit Warmer Winters. Volunteers knit hats, mittens, scarves and sweaters to donate to needy people. Founder Judy Gentry, 68, said last year they gave more than 300 items to the annual Winter Coat Drive to accompany the coats, and there will be more coming in 2014.


This year members of the Rutland Knitting Group will also be donating handmade items. Group members said they have three large bags of assorted items to donate.


There are now drop-off boxes for coats at Global Fitness in Leominster and Fitchburg, Planet Fitness in Leominster, The Merriam Avenue Hannaford in Leominster, Cross Fit in Millbury, Lundgren Honda in Auburn, the Hope Center of Fitchburg and Independent Cleaners in Fitchburg.


Independent Cleaners will also dry clean the used items before they are distributed through local community groups.


Nicolas Formaggia, counselor at the Spanish-American Center in Leominster, said they look forward to the coat giveaway each year.


“When the coats get to the center, it’s pretty much a party,” he said.




Oct 16, 2014

Sheriff Evangelidis Kicks Off Annual Coat Drive

10/16/2014 7:40:00 AM

Eryn Dion
News Staff Writer

The Sheriff’s Annual Coat Drive kicked off Wednesday morning with members of the Crowley family and representatives from Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, Warmer Winters of Leominster, Rutland Knitting Group, The Gardner Museum, the Spanish American Center of Leominster, and Hope Center of Fitchburg.

PRINCETON – Set against the stunning fall foliage, Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis kicked off the Sheriff’s Annual Coat Drive at the Wachusett Mountain Ski Area Wednesday morning, decked out in a hand-knit scarf and joined by some of the drive’s many partners.

“This is really one of the most special days of the year,” Sheriff Evangelidis told the crowd gathered at the base of the mountain.

Last year, the drive distributed more than 2,000 coats to families across Worcester County and this year the Sheriff said the event already has a substantial head start thanks to the ski area and the Crowley family, who donated 1,500 coats to the cause.

“These guys have been so generous in what they’ve done to not only get this program started, but get us halfway there,” Sheriff Evangelidis said.

David Crowley, Wachusett Mountain general manager, said the coats were given as part of the ski shop’s “Shop and Swap” program, where customers can drop off winter coats and hats in exchange for credit toward lift tickets in the fall and winter skiing season. Mr. Crowley said the program helps make skiing affordable, particularly for large families, and any items that do not sell later are donated to Wachusett Mountain.

Several of the drive’s top contributors were also present, including Warmer Winters, a group out of Leominster that harnesses about 100 volunteers throughout the year to produce over 4,000 hand-knit jackets, mittens, scarves, and hats for donation. According to CEO Judy Gentry, in addition to contributing to the coat drive, the group has recently begun reaching out to the homeless people in Fitchburg and Leominster who spend the majority of their winter outside.

“We give people brand new, beautifully made things,” Ms. Gentry said of the group’s work.

The Coat Drive will run through November, with distribution taking place in December. Sheriff Evangelidis said collection boxes will be placed in locations throughout the county, including The Gardner Museum during normal business hours and Hannaford Supermarket in the city. All coats must be new or slightly used and will be dry-cleaned before they are handed off to various charities and community centers throughout the region.

“When the coats get to the center, it’s pretty much a party,” said Nicolas Formaggia with the Spanish American Center in Leominster — which will receive items collected from the drive.

The city’s Hope Center and Cleghorn Neighborhood Center in Fitchburg will also distribute coats to families, along with many others.

While participation and donations toward the drive have grown, the sheriff noted that there has also been an uptick in the number of families in need in the area and that for many, a winter coat can be the first step toward stability.

“The need in the community is greater than ever,” the Sheriff said. “This is so much more than a coat.”

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