Rockland residents were in the giving mood for the 22nd straight winter when they participated in the started by Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack.
This year, four cleaners around Rockland collected and cleaned coats for the program, which ended Dec. 23. Coats are still being collected and counted, said Sabrina Greco, director of operations for the Town of Clarkstown. Her estimation is they collected more than 500 coats.
“We’ve been doing it for about 20 years,” said Maria Kcira, owner of Fine Line Cleaners in New City. “It’s a nice thing to do and we like to help people.”
Fine Line collected so many coats for the drive that two trips had to be made to clear out the large pile.
“In the past, people have brought in some disasters,” Kcira said. “They have broken zippers or huge holes, just coats that even clean aren’t that good. This year we got really good stuff, though, so when we cleaned them they looked really good.”
Jung Ja Kim, owner of June French Cleaners in Congers, said they’ve participated in the drive for about 17 years.
“We like to help because with a little work we can keep somebody warm in the winter,” she said.
The coats are donated to People-to-People in Nanuet, Community Action Program in Spring Valley, Martin Luther King Center in Spring Valley and Community Action Program in Haverstraw. Some of the coats have already been delivered to one of the four locations listed above, and more will be next week as well.
The coats were collected at Fine Line, June French, Personal Touch Cleaners in Spring Valley and Tiffany Cleaners in Chestnut Ridge.
“In the past we’ve had around 10 cleaners participate in the drive, but we still have a good number,” Kcira said.
Last year five cleaners participated and they collected around 1,000 coats. Still, with less participating cleaners and coats collected, Kcira said the program is worthwhile.
“Every year we ask ourselves if we should continue with it,” she said. “I think when you see that we collected 500 coats this year, that’s 500 people we’re helping, and that’s a great thing.”