JACKSON – Winter’s here and while it has been relatively mild, a warm coat can be quite welcome when the mercury drops. Thanks to the Jackson Education Association, many coats reached the hands of township residents.
JEA President Lisa Crate recently shared the news of the success of their Community Coat Drive during a Board of Education meeting.
“Our coat drive started in the beginning of January and we had our coat distribution at Jackson Liberty High School on a Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. I want to thank Scott Brooks who was there for security who was a great help and Dee Anthony who was the custodian and she was fabulous as well. I wanted to thank them first,” Crate said.
“We were able to collect in a two-week period somewhere around 2,000 coats and they all came from our school community, our parents and members of the Jackson community including those who don’t have students at our schools,” Crate added.
She noted that, “after weeks of collecting coats from our generous community donors, sorting through nearly 2,000 donations with students and faculty, and arranging them all for easy access, we were happy to open our doors at Jackson Liberty to over 250 people and their families.”
The coats came in every imaginable size, from infant to adult, she said.
“After we collected all the coats, we had staff members and students sorting so a special shout out especially to Heather Callahan, Sue Pennell and the members of the Builder’s Club at the (Carl W.) Goetz (Middle) School who spent a lot of time sorting coats,” she said. “We had help from the guidance department and some other staff and we thank those as well. Every time I turned around, I was shocked to see more coats coming in.”
The people who came out for the coats were able to pick out as many as they needed, she said. Additionally, the Liberty Lion’s Closet was open and selling everything for a dollar apiece.
“Everything from shoes to pants to socks to shirts and suits. There were whole suits there and community members who came for coats also had the opportunity to shop at the Lion’s Closet and we sold over 1,000 pieces of clothing that day,” she added.
She told The Jackson Times that “providing this service to the community is just one way the JEA continues to carry out our commitment to families and students in our schools.
“The JEA was able to host this Community Coat Distribution through the generosity of public donations along with a Pride in Public Education Grant provided by the New Jersey Education Association,” Crate said.
She thanked the Board and administration for allowing use of JLHS facilities. “I also want to thank our members who worked so hard and helped us gather those coats and who came in on a Saturday to work to make sure that the school was open and the community was comfortable throughout the three hours we were there.”
Superintendent Nicole Pormilli applauded the effort and new Board member Brian McCarron commented, “great job by the JEA with their coat drive. They distributed a large amount of coats and there was a lot of positive comments on social media about that.”
Board member Megan Gardella said she was impressed by the Lion’s Closet sales and the JEA’s efforts.
“The JEA did a great job and I was happy to see that so many people donated coats,” Board Vice President Tina Kas said.