West Chester Twp. business partners Jim Dorff and Barb Wendel are hoping to break their three-year record collecting winter-weather gear for the needy.
Dorff, president of 365 Renovations, and Wendel, the lead decorator at the Sherwin-Williams location on Cincinnati Dayton Road, teamed up last year and collected about 1,700 coats, scarves, gloves and hats, and the duo set a goal of 2,000 items this year. The collection bins will go up Oct. 15 and come down a month later.
The pair first started the drive in 2016 when they collected more than 300 winter items at just seven Sherwin-Williams stores. This year there will be coat drive boxes at 57 paint store locations in the Cincinnati and Dayton region and Coopers Hawk Winery and Restaurant at Liberty Center. Dorff said a few other businesses have offered to help the effort.
Wendel said fundraisers especially need coats for younger children and sizes 3X and 4X for adults.
“We are looking for gently used or new coats for all ages and sizes, we also need hats, gloves and scarves,” she said. “We really need them for kids sizes as well. Last year we had numerous one-piece snow suits because there are still children living in the woods, small children, so we can use those teenie, eenie sizes.”
The items will be given to Transitional Living Inc. that helps the homeless in Butler County, the Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati, the Brighton Center in Northern Kentucky and St. Vincent de Paul Gateway Shelter for Women and Families, Gospel Mission, Inc. and the YWCA women’s shelter in Dayton.
Wendel said information about the drive has spread wide, including a call from a woman in Jackson, Miss. looking for help in setting up a food drive there, “so my dream has come true.”
Dorff said it is wonderful to see how many people get so excited about the donations.
“It is amazing, not only do the people that receive the coats, but the executives come down and ask for pictures and they are just flabbergasted that we are dropping off this many coats to them,” Dorff said. “The time of year that we tend to drop them off is a lot of times when they start running out. It’s like we come in and rescue them.”
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