“In 2011, approximately 80 percent of the students enrolled in the Philadelphia School District were economically disadvantaged,” said Claudia S. Averette, M.Ed., deputy chief of Parent, Family, Community Engagement and Faith-Based Partnerships, School District of Philadelphia. “When the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation approached us about collaborating on a coat distribution event, we immediately began planning and offering support on the best way to do it. The end result will be thousands of our students arriving to school warmer, healthier and ultimately more ready to learn. We are thankful to the Foundation and its dealer members for organizing a program such as this.”
The Driving Away the Cold initiative began in 2008 after the Foundation learned that a warm winter coat was and remains one of the most requested items via social services agencies.
Since then, the Foundation kicks off the program every year with a donation of 10,000 new child-sized coats to the effort. It then invites area new car dealers to continue the giving by participating in a special month-long campaign titled WE PLEDGE. Through this supplemental program, 170 participating dealerships pledged an additional brand-new winter coat to a child in need when a vehicle was sold on-site during the month of September. These efforts will result in the distribution of approximately 30,000 brand-new winter coats to children in need this month. The coats will be distributed via a number of outlets such as area school districts, YMCAs, shelters and more. At the end of October, the total number of coats given through the Driving Away the Cold program (since its inception) will be 108,950.
“As indicated, we will be distributing new winter coats throughout the five-county region of Philadelphia all month long, with our largest event planned for October 10,” said Kevin Mazzucola, executive director of the Foundation. “When planning our distributions for this year, we knew we had to get involved with the District, as the need for this everyday item only continues to grow, especially in our inner city schools. This distribution event in particular will truly showcase community collaboration at its best.”
At the October 10 event, the new coats will be distributed via dozens of area auto dealers that are volunteering for the day as well as School District personnel. Event support is also being given by the Pennsylvania Convention Center management staff, local trade unions, ARAMARK/SFS and Operation Warm.
“Everyone is doing their part to help us put coats on kids’ backs before winter arrives,” added Mazzucola. “While we all wish the need wasn’t so prevalent, it’s inspiring to see so many outlets come together for a common cause.”
For a full list of participating dealers or to learn more about the Driving Away the Cold effort, 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.