On December 2, 2020, JEVS Human Services held its first coat drive with the help from Marshalls Distribution. Marshalls generously donated 706 men’s and women’s winter coats from Bernardo and Nautica. With enough coats to go around, all of JEVS’ programs were invited to take part. Thus the creation of “Operation Coat Check”.
For years JEVS and Marshalls have built a strong relationship. JEVS provides workers and Marshalls donates supplies when possible. Recently, Marshalls donated food for the Thanksgiving food drive and will supply hats, gloves, and scarves this January.
The first mission of Operation Coat Check began with a caravan to Marshalls distribution center from program participants from various JEVS programs: The Choice is Yours (TCY), Looking Forward, some of the residential homes, Community Living & Home Supports, Center for New Americans, Project WOW, Work Ready, Achievement through Counseling and Treatment (ACT), and STRIVE. Cars lined up outside the warehouse to pack their cars with as many boxes as possible. For phase two, volunteers masked up to organize the Bernardo and Nautica coats inside JEVS’ Orleans Technical College. This location provided enough space so volunteers could maintain a safe distance in the atrium, conference room, and lunchroom.
“It was such a good experience. I would do it again in a minute.” – Ranee Shipley, Volunteer Coordinator
Boxes stacked to the ceiling and hundreds of jackets took over the college space, while volunteers formed assembly lines. What should have taken all day, only took a couple of hours. When all JEVS’ programs stuffed their cars with coats to take back to their participants, two local non-profits also benefitted from Marshalls’ generosity and were able to give away coats within their communities.
To complete the operation, all participating programs that day were given manufacturer coupons to be used for food items, with a few limitations.