Business partners collecting 2,000 coats for the needy across southwest Ohio

West Chester duo Jim Dorff and Barb Wendel say it’s that time again, time to step up and collect cold weather gear for the needy — the goal is 2,000 items in a month.

Dorff, president of 360 Painting of Ohio and Wendel, the lead decorator at the Sherwin-Williams location on Cincinnati Dayton Road, teamed up last year and surpassed their 1,000-coat goal collecting more than 1,400 coats, scarves, gloves and hats — no boots and no shoes — for the needy.

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They have doubled the goal and expanded the location base with 20 additional collection points in the Dayton area. There are 25 locations in Butler County and the greater Cincinnati region.

The drive started Oct. 15 and runs through Nov. 16. Wendel said they are about to start box number two at the West Chester location. The reason the pair launched this effort is simple.

“I think it is important, we’ve both been very blessed in our lives and we want to do something to give back to the community…,” Wendel said. “I just feel so blessed to be able to go home and sleep in a warm bed and have heat and everything I need. It disturbs me that many folks are not able to do that. So in some small way we are trying to help them.”

They took donations at the West Chester paint store and seven other locations the inaugural year. Last year, they expanded their reach to 27 stores in southwest Ohio, including stores in Hamilton and Middletown.

The gently used — new items are also welcome — gear 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 and Good Shepherd Sober House, both in Dayton.

The duo said if people don’t have any old items to donate they will gladly take cash and buy items at Goodwill.

Dorff said when they deliver the coats to these charities it really underscores how important their mission is.

“When we go to these places to give these things, man it’s gut wrenching…,” Dorff said. “So go through your closets, grab some coats and fill these boxes.”

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