Over 3,500 Winter Coats Donated To Local Students

Students from Red Bank Primary School with their new winter coats courtesy of United Way’s Warmest Wishes Coat Drive. (Photo courtesy United Way)

  JERSEY SHORE – This winter season, over 3,500 coats were given to local preschool, elementary and middle school students in need thanks to United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties’ 2021 Warmest Wishes Coat Drive.

  Nearly 134 local organizations and individuals donated 3,518 brand new coats to United Way, making it the organization’s most successful Warmest Wishes Coat Drive to date.

  Between 35 schools throughout the region, over 4,200 winter outerwear and holiday items were also distributed to children.

  United Way thanks Operation Warm Up Jersey Shore and its funding partners for their donation of 1,000 coats to the Warmest Wishes Coat Drive.

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  The Warmest Wishes Coat Drive began in 2012 after the organization switched from holiday gift donations so they can fill the community’s needs. United Way has supplied the community with nearly 13,000 new coats over the next nine years.

  “One of the things that United Way does very well is listen to our community and identify needs that aren’t being met,” President & CEO of United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties Lori-Anne McLane said. “In speaking with our local school partners, we learned that one of their top needs was new winter coats, especially in the districts with many students who walk or ride their bikes to school.”

A student stands in front of a table full of coats donated to the Asbury Park school district on behalf of the Warmest Wishes Coat Drive after selecting his own. (Photo courtesy United Way)

  With more and more families experiencing financial difficulty during the ongoing pandemic, need for basic essentials such as coats has continued to rise.

  “Families were already struggling to pay utility bills and stay warm, and the COVID-19 pandemic has created extra stressors in life,” Guidance Counselor for the Freehold Learning Center Kari Schmidt said. “All of these factors combined makes the need for coats greater than ever. United Way’s Warmest Wishes Coat Drive supports our students and families and makes a real difference in the lives of others.”

   For more information about how to participate in the next Warmest Wishes Coat Drive or the variety of donation drives that United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties has to offer, contact Toni Pitts at tpitts@uwmoc.org.