EAST NORRITON, Pa., Oct. 28, 2014 –The Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation gave a brand-new winter coat to every elementary school student in the Chester Upland School District today at Main Street Elementary School. The event was part of the Foundation’s Driving Away the Cold program and concluded month-long distribution activities during which the auto dealers donated more than 37,000 coats to local kids in need. Students selected their new winter coats with the help of auto dealers and teachers alongside Pennsylvania State Representative Thaddeus Kirkland and Mayor of Chester John Linder. In addition to distributing 2,200 coats, the Foundation presented a $5,000 check to Superintendent Gregory G. Shannon, M.Ed. to support the creation of Chester Upland School District’s first uniform bank that will provide school uniforms for students with hardships.
“When we heard about the Chester Upland School District’s efforts to improve the learning environment for students, the local new auto dealers knew they needed to help,” said Kevin Mazzucola, executive director of the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation. “Today we donated a new coat to every single elementary student at Chester Upland School District, something we’ve never done before. We also made a contribution to start the school district’s first-ever uniform bank.”
“This kind of community support is critical to our efforts to provide Chester Upland School District students with a quality education, in a safe and nurturing environment, to help them reach their full potential,” said Superintendent Gregory Shannon, an urban school turnaround expert recruited by state-appointed Receiver Joe Watkins last year to improve the state’s lowest performing school district. “Not only will these coats keep our children warm, they also demonstrate that our community cares for them.”
Developed in January 2008, the Driving Away the Cold program is a philanthropic initiative with one important mission: to provide new winter coats to underprivileged children living in the five-county region of Philadelphia. The coats are raised through a special month-long program when participating franchised dealers pledge a brand-new winter coat each time a vehicle is sold at their dealerships.
New winter coats are being distributed throughout October to local children through a network of 85 school districts, YMCAs, social service agencies, homeless shelters and more. Since 2008, the Foundation has donated 177,858 new coats including more than 37,000 this year.
“We hear from social service providers and schools that a warm winter coat is one of the most requested items from families,” Mazzucola said. “For many children, this is the only new article of clothing they will receive this year. Between providing new winter coats and establishing a uniform bank, local new vehicle dealers are removing barriers that prevent Chester Upland School District students from arriving to school prepared to learn.”
“We are thrilled with the donation to create a bank for school uniforms,” Receiver Watkins said. “Last year we instituted a uniform policy to create a positive identity for the school and to eliminate peer pressure about clothing. This bank will help parents struggling to purchase the knit tops, pants and skirts for their children. Students should be able to focus on the important things, like their studies and positive school experiences, and the gift from the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation will let them do just that.”
The Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation extends its gratitude to Chester County-based Operation Warm, which helps secure the amount of pledged coats through its respective coat suppliers. For a full list of participating dealers or to learn more about the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation and the difference it is making in its communities, please visit www.caringforkids.com.
About the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation
The Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Auto Show. Established in 2003, the Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) public charity, annually contributes funding and resources to worthwhile child-related programs and causes throughout the Greater Philadelphia five-county region. Its mission is to enhance and enrich the lives of children and youth in the communities in which its Dealer Members work and live, by providing access to and supporting excellence in the institutions and programs that serve local children. For more information, please visit www.caringforkids.com.