Sheriff Michael Bouchard with Genisys staff and 98.7 AMP radio staff at the Coats for the Cold kickoff. Photo by Jessica Steeley
BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer
“Coats for the Cold” Coat Drive celebrated their 30th year last week with a kick-off event at Clarkston’s Genisys Credit Union.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard began the coat drive and estimates they collect thousands of coats each year. “When I started the program, I had seen people huddling by steam grates and they’re cold,” Bouchard said. “I felt compelled to do something and when I got home I hung my coat up and saw that I had a number of virtually brand-new coats, but lots of times, people give you a coat as a gift or you buy a different one, next thing you know that one that’s in great shape just sits in the closest, and I thought probably a lot of people have that.”
The coats are donated to several charities throughout the county and Bouchard said the only stipulation is the coats go to someone in need for free.
Coats can be dropped off at 65 locations throughout the county, including several Genisys locations.
“We’re able to receive coats that will then be donated to people who are in need,” Genisys Clarkston Branch Manager Jason Hermiz said. “It’s very important to have that community involvement and be a place where we can help the community by making a difference and giving them needs that they may not be able to get on their own.”
The event also included an appearance by 98.7 AMP Radio station, another partner of the coat drive, located in Southfield.
“Being on the radio and trying to get people in, clean out their closet, that kind of thing, they might not even know that what they have can really make a difference in somebody else’s life,” Hermiz said.
Bouchard explained attendees of the kickoff event could enter to win Lady Gaga and Pistons tickets if they donated a coat during the event.
“People get a chance to have a fun night by doing a good thing, that’s a win-win,” he added.
They’re also partnering with Oakland County Animal Shelter, Bouchard said. Donating a coat gets $10 off an adoption fee, up to $50 if you bring in five coats.
“If you’re looking for giving a little love to an animal that needs to be adopted and also have the opportunity to give a coat to somebody that needs one in a winter season, that’s a marriage made in Heaven,” Bouchard said.
Throughout the month of November, Oakland County Sheriff’s will pick up coats at the different drop-off locations.
“We’ll have boxes here available for the Oakland County Sheriff’s to make pick-ups. Hopefully we call them a lot and they come and pick up our full boxes,” Hermiz said. “We’re just very happy that we can help.”
To donate a coat visit Clarkston Genisys at 7357 Deer Lake Road during business hours, or find other locations at oaklandsheriff.com. The drive runs through November 30.