Sunbury Cleaners collects coats for a cause
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
Over the last six Christmas holiday seasons, Sunbury Cleaners employees have teamed up with David Widder of Caldwell Banker to provide winter coats for Central Ohio needy families.
Last year the drive netted over 750 coats, with many of them going to Big Walnut area families in need via Big Walnut Friends Who Share, eastern Delaware County’s grass-roots social service agency. The rest went to Better Way Ministry in the Short North district in Columbus.
Now in its seventh year, the Widder/Sunbury Cleaners winter coat drive will accept winter coats, sweaters, hats, gloves and blankets through early December. Many coats will again go to Big Walnut Friends Who Share, Better Way Ministries, and all blankets will be delivered to Faith Mission in Columbus.
Sunbury Cleaners owner Dennis Bell said the coat drive is a Sunbury Cleaners labor of love, with store employees pitching in to examine them for wear and professionally clean them before delivery.
Bell said when the coat project began seven years ago 150 coats were collected, dry-cleaned and distributed. The second year boasted 250 coats, and by the third year 440 coats were collected and distributed. During the coat drive’s fourth year the community donated 600 coats.
Milburn said while any size coat in any condition will be accepted, cleaned and distributed, this year she is concerned about getting enough children’s coats to fill the need.
“I’m certain we’re going to need adult coats, we always do at this time of year as the weather starts to turn cold,” Milburn said. “But donations have been down so far this year, only 200 coats so far, and I’m worried about kids who will need winter coats, hats and gloves.”
Milburn said to also remember to donate used sweaters, and that blankets are always in short supply at Faith Mission during cold winter months.
“It doesn’t matter what condition they’re in,” Milburn added. “They will be cleaned and distributed to somewhere they are needed.”
To participate in the Winter Coat Drive drop used winter coats, infant through adult sizes, sweaters, hats, gloves and blankets at Sunbury Cleaners, 23 West Granville Street, Sunbury, or at the Sunbury Cleaners store at Highland Lakes. Both stores are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
The Big Walnut Friends Who Share Store at 216 High Street, Sunbury, is open to those in need on Wednesday mornings from 9 until 11:30 a.m., and during the evening on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 6:30 until 8 p.m.
On the second Saturday of each month, senior citizens can visit the Friends Who Share Store from 10 a.m. until 12 noon. Volunteers help out at the center from 9 until 11:30 a.m. every Monday morning. The store accepts donated items on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 until 11:30 a.m.
To volunteer, to donate needed items, or to make a financial contribution to Friends Who Share projects, call 740–965-9596. Cash donations may be sent to Big Walnut Friends Who Share, P.O. Box 424, Sunbury, 43074.
Big Walnut Friends Who Share is on the Web at <http://www.bigwalnutfriendswhoshare.org/ >.