As record-breaking cold weather sets in this week, it's difficult to imagine anyone surviving the season without a coat, let alone children. Which is why one of the region's largest community drives has collected almost 1,400 coats and $6,000 for students in need.
Run by community leaders from Utica Community Schools, Shelby Township and Sterling Heights, the initiative ran from mid-November through January 4 with collection locations around Macomb County. Elementary school students were involved in receiving and packaging the coats for their school community.
While the hashtag #PolarVortex dominated social media, supporters and organizers gathered in Sterling Heights on Tuesday to recognize the students’ efforts during one of Michigan’s coldest winters in years.
Superintendent of Utica Community Schools Dr Christine Johns says the initiative shows just how successful a combined effort can be.
“Teachers, administrators, parents and community leaders are modeling for students what is great about our school district and the communities we call home," she says.
"Service and volunteerism are the very essence of our community.”
Supporter Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor says he was proud to play a small part in the success of the project.
“The Coats for Kids drive was a great experience to show just how much our community cares about helping those in need,” he says.
Antolin Shelby, Shelby Township’s largest employer and manufacturing center, was major supporter of the cause and general manager Joseph McCluskey II says it was important for the automotive company to do something tangible to directly impact the community.
“It’s one thing for a corporation to write a check, but it means more when we get involved as individuals helping each other,” McCluskey says.