Home Nonprofit organization Lowell Fire Department coat drive warms hearts in need

Lowell Fire Department coat drive warms hearts in need


The definition of real civil servants.

That’s what an organization led by a retired Lowell firefighter and Worcester County Sheriff’s Office outreach personifies.

Each group again mounted an effort to distribute winter coats to benefit needy families in their communities.

Larry Finn, a 28-year veteran of the Lowell Fire Department, fondly remembers his Aunt Pat buying brand new winter coats for her nieces and nephews. Finn, one of 13 children, said he never forgot his aunt’s kindness or the warmth of those coats as he walked to and from school on snowy and scorching days. snow.

And he’s made it his mission to bring that same warmth to the needy children of Lowell.

Last Saturday, Finn and his legion of volunteers handed out 300 free winter coats at the JFK Civic Center fire station on Moody Street.

“The first year, we delivered 75 coats. The second year we started distributing them at the Moody Street Fire Station. And every year since then, it’s grown a little bit. Last year we collected nearly 1,000 winter coats to give away,” said Finn, a Lowell native who has been involved in the coat drive for more than 20 years.

This Saturday giveaway is just part of the winter coat project. Finn, who founded a nonprofit called Coats from Ann Above in honor of his late mother, said the organization also buys coats for homeless students at Lowell public schools.

“I heard from a colleague that there are 700 students without housing in the public school system,” said Finn, who works through the school department to identify students in need.

Department store chain Kohl’s is working with the nonprofit on the awards, so they can reach as many at-risk, homeless students as possible.

“You know, they’re in a motel or a hotel, or some other temporary housing situation,” Finn said, “and a brand new coat makes them feel better.”

Noting that coat donations have dropped significantly this year, Finn said the nonprofit will work to ensure that every child who needs a coat gets one. “The need is great and we need to get the word out,” Finn said. “If children show up and we don’t have a coat for them, we will try to get them one before Christmas.”

Donations of coats or money can be dropped off at the Moody Street Fire Station. Checks can be made payable to Ann Above and can be deposited at the fire station, firefighters’ credit union or any corporate bank.

In north-central Massachusetts, it was a similar situation.

On Oct. 12, a long line formed at the Leominster Hispanic American Center, patiently waiting for a warm winter jacket, one of many events held by the county sheriff’s office’s annual winter coat drive. of Worcester.

Well over 200 people – mothers with children, elderly people, families – turned up at a row of tables at the headquarters of the non-profit community organization Spruce Street, as part of the distribution period two-week coat tour that also includes stops at Community Health Connections, Our Father’s House and Restoration Recovery in Fitchburg, and Women’s Recovery Center and the Police Department in Leominster, among others across the county.

Three dozen plastic bags each containing 10 coats, all of different sizes, colors and styles, were unloaded from the back of two large trucks and scattered among the crowd. The new jackets have been sorted by size, starting with three months through adult.

Although the scene looked like organized chaos, the whole team worked together to get at least one coat for everyone who came, and some left with several for themselves and their family members.

Anyone can donate a new warm winter jacket or make a monetary donation online at reserveepitysheriff.com. There are also two drop off locations in Worcester for coat donations – The Gun Parlor, 170 Prescott St., and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, 240 Main St., 2nd Floor.

At the end of the coat distribution campaign, it is estimated that more than 4,000 coats will be distributed this month, a record year.