PORTLAND, ME -- On a blustery December 2, Mainers showed up, several wearing their fun and festive holiday sweaters, with car loads of toys and coats to donate to Coats and Toys for Kids Day – an annual event sponsored by NEWS CENTER Maine.
In one day, more than 4,000 new and gently used coats and more than 5,000 new toys were collected for distribution. Seven live locations throughout the state included: Hannaford Supermarket on Cony Street in August, Hannaford Supermarket on High Street in Ellsworth, Hannaford Supermarket on Main Street in Sanford, Hannaford at Elms Plaza in Waterville, Shaw’s on Main Street in Bangor, Shaw’s on Center Street in Auburn, and Pratt-Abbott Cleaners on Forest Ave in Portland.
When the single day event is combined with the month-long Coats and Toys for Kids campaign, the overall total collected was an estimated 16,700 coats and 6,820 toys.
Coats for Kids was originally designed 35 years ago by the Salvation Army, with NEWS CENTER Maine becoming partners 7 years later, to collect coats for the kids of Maine from families who cannot afford a warm winter coat. Each year in November, donation boxes are placed in the Hannaford Supermarkets and Shaw’s stores across the state for Mainers to bring in toys and gently used coats. In 2004, NEWS CENTER Maine also saw the need for toys during the holiday season and expanded the program to Coats and Toys for Kids. All the coats are cleaned and stored by Pratt-Abbott Cleaners and the Salvation Army distributes the coats and toys. Pepsico (formerly Pepsi) has assisted this great effort by donating and delivering the boxes to Hannaford Supermarkets and Shaw’s stores. The Maine Bankers Association also helped out with a financial donation.
By estimation, NEWS CENTER Maine has collected more than 815,000 coats in the last 28 years- all of which have helped to keep Maine children warm. Since 2004, they have collected 64,000 toys to distribute to those in need during the holiday season.