Warm Coat Drive Exceeds Expectations

Sleepy Hollow students (L-R) Back Row: Haley Hoskins, Eve Copeland, Annarose Smith; Front row: Sofia Blore, Emma Stokes help sort donations for the One Warm Coat Drive. The Orinda Association, in partnership with Sleepy Hollow Elementary and Rotary Club Orinda, collected 374 coats this year for those in need.

    Sponsored by The Orinda Association (OA), the third annual One Warm Coat (OWC) drive concluded with 374 coats donated for this good cause. OWC is a national non-profit organization that works to provide a free, warm coat to any person in need.
    “This was an amazing year. The generosity of our local residents and our partnerships with Sleepy Hollow School and Orinda Rotary resulted in this sizable jump from last year’s 165 donated coats,” said Orinda Association member and OWC Drive Coordinator Kate Wiley.
    Wiley related how one Orinda resident really stepped up personally. Stephanie Rhoads-Bickham, the senior account manager of Performa Marketing Agency in Walnut Creek, had seen an article about the coat drive in The Orinda News. She stopped by The Orinda Association office and donated over 30 new coats from Performa. She also noted that Dick Burkhalter promoted the drive at weekly Orinda Rotary meetings.
    But, one of the biggest local supporters was Sleepy Hollow Elementary School, which asked families to donate new or gently used child-size coats in bins outside the school office. Fifteen fourth and fifth grade student council volunteers at Sleepy Hollow, with Crystal D’Amato coordinating, helped sort, count and bundle coats in the multi-purpose room after classes on Dec. 12. “The kids really took the job seriously,” says OA staff member Cathy Goshorn. “They were very focused on the task and understood who the recipients would be.”
    Sleepy Hollow also embarked upon a food collection drive to the Monument Crisis Center benefiting low-income individuals and families in Central and East Contra Costa County.
    The coats garnered from this community-wide effort went to White Pony Express (WPX) and some will be distributed to Camp Fire victims and residents of Contra Costa County in need.
    White Pony Express is a charitable organization that has, according to its website (www.whiteponyexpress.org), served over 70,000 people and distributed over 500,000 clothing items to needy Contra Costa residents in its five years of existence. WPX has been going daily to deliver food to Camp Fire victims and going door to door in local motels to determine specific needs. WPX clearly has a great record of service since FEMA and Red Cross allow only sanctioned, viable groups to come to the area to deliver goods.
    “We would like to thank all the people who so generously contributed to One Warm Coat,” Wiley adds. “They have made a significant impact to many in need.”

Sleepy Hollow students (L-R) Ryan Davalos, Rishi Haldar and August Hance help sort donations for the One Warm Coat Drive.

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