The Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation is distributing a record 51,696 brand-new winter coats to area children in need this month. Approximately 8,700 new coats will be distributed in Montgomery County specifically. The effort is part of the eleventh annual Driving Away the Cold program, which involves approximately 180 local auto dealers teaming up for the greater good. One in six children in the Greater Philadelphia region lives in poverty and a warm winter coat is one of the essential items they often live without. This program aims to change that.
“We started this effort back in 2008. We were looking for a program that our dealer members could support collectively and one that really focused on improving the lives of young, area kids,” said Kevin Mazzucola, executive director of the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation. “That first year, we distributed a total of 18,000 new coats throughout the five-county region of Philadelphia. This year, we will do nearly three times that. Clearly and unfortunately, the need is present, and we are committed to doing our part to help with that.”
The 180 Driving Away the Cold Dealer Participants, including 54 in Montgomery County, annually conduct a pledge program to help raise funds to purchase these brand-new winter coats. The Auto Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia also plays a part by donating $2.00 from every Philadelphia Auto Show ticket sold to its Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation in support of the effort. The pledged coats are then distributed through 220 social services agencies, school districts, churches, shelters, etc. in the area. Twenty-nine local YMCAs will also serve as signature coat distribution partners. In Montgomery County, examples of events that media are invited to attend include the following:
Abington Y North Penn Y [Delivery event]
Wednesday, October 17 Thursday, October 18
1073 Old York Road, Abington 608 E. Main Street, Lansdale
MontCo EARN Program [Distribution event] Souderton School District [Distribution event]
Saturday, October 20 Monday, October 29
Elmwood Park Zoo EM Crouthamel Elementary
1661 Harding Blvd, Norristown 143 S. School Lane, Souderton
“A new, quality winter coat does so much more than keep a child warm,” added Mazzucola. “It provides them with a boost of self-confidence and a great sense of pride in ownership of that coat. All of these feelings ultimately help them arrive to school ready and willing to learn.”
This year’s contribution to the effort brings the program’s total number of coats given to approximately 365,000 since 2008. Members of the public are invited to purchase a new coat for a local child in need by visiting MoreThanAutoDealers.com.