The 12th Annual Coats For Kids Event By: Jackie Smith

Southern California Cleaners Association (So Cal Cleaners) is about to embark on its annual Coats For Kids drive. Board member, Ray Rangwala, has spearheaded this event since its inception. “What a great way to give back to the community and generate positive publicity for the dry cleaning industry,” Ray explains. This also coincides with the Rotary Vocational Avenue of Service month. As a member of Rotary, you are to use your craft, trade or skill for the betterment of your community.

Ray, who owns Esteem Cleaners in Pasadena, California is a member of the Glendale Rotary Club. “It seemed like a natural. The Rotary club was looking for a project. As a Board member of So Cal Cleaners Association, I felt I could put together this program with the help of the So Cal Cleaners members. I presented it to the Association and the enthusiasm was overwhelming,” said Ray.

The coats are collected from the Glendale School District. There are 27 schools in the district and flyers go out to every student in the district. The flyers give the details about the event and told where and when the coats would be available at no charge – FREE. Each school collects the coats and the coats are picked up and taken to a central location. From there, the dry cleaning angels pick up the garments, clean them and return them to the distribution point. Last year, people were lined up at 6:30 a.m. to get the coats and by 10:30 a.m. all the coats were gone! Over 30,000 pounds of coats have been cleaned since the program started.

This year, things will be handled in a slightly different manner. The coats will be picked up by the Rotary members and taken to the Salvation Army in Glendale. The “Angel” dry cleaners will pick up the clothes from that location. The clothes will be available after October 16th for pickup and the dry cleaners will return them to that location by October 26th. The distribution of coats is being held on October 27th. David Suber of Perfect Cleaners in Los Angeles said, “I have participated in this event for many years. It is always gratifying to see these children so happy with their “new” coats.”

So Cal Cleaners Association is encouraging dry cleaners to promote this in their own locations as well. Encourage your customers to bring in garments that can be donated. Although the campaign is Coats For Kids, any donations will be accepted. So Cal Cleaners Association has developed posters to hang in your call offices promoting this event. By involving your customers, they will realize what you are doing for your community. This is another way you can market your business at every little cost and the goodwill is invaluable.

“Most of these coats can be washed. The cleaners return them on wire hangers with no plastic,” according to Ray. “I invite you to find out more about this program. If you would like more information, call me at (818) 590-2416.”