NORTHBROOK, Ill. — In what’s become an annual tradition, a coat and winter apparel drive for veterans gathered 1,742 coats and jackets earlier this month, along with gloves, scarves and other cold-weather apparel.
Conducted by Zengeler Cleaners and the Libertyville Rotary Sunrise Club, the Coats for Vets drive was started as a way to show appreciation to U.S. military veterans who have fallen on hard times after returning to civilian life. This year, the pandemic has only added to their challenges.
“There are many challenges facing Veterans when they return from active duty,” says Tom Zengeler, president of Zengeler Cleaner. “Easy examples include readjusting to civilian life and returning to the workforce. Now more than ever, many jobs they held before leaving to serve are no longer available, and the COVID-19 pandemic makes prospects of finding meaningful work even more difficult. To help in this time of need, Libertyville Rotary Sunrise, Zengeler Cleaners, its customers and many others want to make a difference in their lives as one small way of showing our gratitude for the sacrifices these heroes have made on behalf of all Americans.”
Zengeler Cleaners’ two Libertyville stores served as drop-off locations for the donations, which also inspected, cleaned and, if necessary, repaired the garments. The goal was to have the collection ready by Veterans Day — the drive achieved that goal.
“Support for this worthy cause has grown each year,” says Zengeler. “Many people came together with timely donations to show how much we care about our veterans.”
For more information about the Coats for Vets drive, contact Tom Zengeler at (847) 272-6550, ext. 14.