In a record-breaking outpouring of community support, more than 1,500 brand-new new winter coats have been donated to City School District of Albany students.
The City of Albany’s annual month-long Cash for Coats drive collected over $42,000, enough to buy the coats plus 3,500 hats and pairs of gloves that were distributed Tuesday and Wednesday at several district schools.
A news conference announcing the distribution was held Tuesday at Pine Hills Elementary School, one of the schools that received coats.
"We know the crucial role attendance plays in a student’s academic success, and the correlation between attendance and the ability of children to get to school safely and warmly is clear. It’s important for our students to be in school, and they can’t get there during the difficult winter months without appropriate outerwear,” said Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams.
Also at Tuesday's news conference were Mayor Kathy Sheehan, B. Lodge and Co. owners Jack and Mark Yonnally, United Way of the Capital Region CEO Peter Gannon, Palace Theatre Executive Director Kevin Johnson, Albany Elks Lodge 49 Exalted Ruler Patty Lennox, and Tom Burke of Burke Companies, a generous and longtime donors to the campaign. All were sponsors of this year's campaign. An additional sponsor, Dr. Edward Wladis, was unable to make the news conference.
Now in its 14th year, the drive raises money during October and November that goes toward the purchase new coats and winter gear for students in need. Each year, Lodge's offers a significant discount on any items purchased for Cash for Coats, maximizing the impact of each cash donation.
The lists of schools receiving coats rotates from year to year. In addition to Pine Hills, students received coats and winter finery at Albany School of Humantieis (ASH), Delaware Community School, Giffen Memorial Elementary School, North Albany Middle School, Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School and Albany High School. William S. Hackett Middle School received hats and gloves.
Because the drive was so successful, coats also were donated to Eagle Point Elementary School, Montessori Magnet School, Philip Schuyler Achievement Academy and Sheridan Preparatory Academy.
"I know I speak for everyone in the school district when I say that I am profoundly grateful to everyone who helped make this possible. This is Albany at its very best. You are truly 'all in for Albany.' Thank you," Adams said.