Philadelphia-area car dealers team up to donate 53,000 coats to kids in need

EAST NORRITON, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Auto dealerships across the Philadelphia region are once again stepping up to make sure kids have coats to stay warm ahead of the winter season.

On Monday, thousands of coats filled the parking lot of the Auto Dealers Caring For Kids Foundation.

"There's nothing like putting a brand new winter coat on a kid and they look at you and they say, 'Hey is this mine?' And you say, 'Yeah you can keep that,'" said Kevin Mazzucola, the executive director of the foundation, which raises money all year long with big events like the Philadelphia Auto Show to fund its "Drive Away the Cold" campaign.

This is the 13th year for the campaign, which had to adjust things like its distribution because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The pandemic has been horrible but it has also brought the best in a lot of people to help organizations like ours that serve people," said Nelly Jimenez, the executive director of ACLAMO, a non-profit which serves 7,000 Latino families in Montgomery County.

She says more than ever, families need help, and it's a big deal for kids to have something new that's just for them.

"A lot of our families have to choose between buying a winter coat or put meals and food on the table," she said.

Despite the changes because of the pandemic, the foundation is still going to distribute a record 53,000 coats this year. It totals more than $800,000 from 171 dealerships who hand in hand are helping kids stay warm.

"Some of these kids don't have a new anything. For them to have a new winter coat, zip it up, and being sure they'll be warm is something that's very special and it's very rewarding," said Mazzucola.
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.