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Coats for Vets Drive Nets Record Number of Donations

Zengeler Cleaners and partners thrilled with results from 2023 campaign

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. —  It’s become a popular fall tradition: Zengeler Cleaners teaming up with Libertyville Sunrise Rotary to collect coats, gloves, scarves and other winter clothing in support of our nation’s veterans as a way of saying “thank you” to vets for providing the freedom we enjoy every day.

With surviving veterans of World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and those who’ve more recently served in the Middle East and other conflicts, there now have hundreds of thousands of veterans in the United States, with many heroes falling on hard times as they return to civilian life. 

Libertyville Sunrise Rotary and Zengeler Cleaners are reporting that this year’s collection drive resulted in record donations, gathering 8,063 winter apparel items, including coats, jackets, gloves, scarves and other items. While these donations have an estimated retail value exceeding $400,000.00, organizers say there is no way to measure the value of how much these donations mean to the many appreciative vets in need.

“Veterans returning from active duty face many obstacles,” says Tom Zengeler, president of Zengeler Cleaner. “Readjusting to civilian life and returning to the workforce are always challenging, especially as an evolving economy means jobs held before serving are often no longer in existence. Libertyville Sunrise Rotary, Zengeler Cleaners and many others have worked together to help vets overcome these obstacles — just one small way of showing our gratitude for the sacrifices these heroes have made on behalf of all Americans.”

For out-of-work veterans, food, shelter and clothing are often even more difficult to come by, particularly for seasonal items, such as winter coats and jackets. “That was a key factor in launching our first collection drive several years ago,” says Zengeler. “Fortunately, support for this cause has grown each year, with many people determined to show how much we care.”

Zengeler Cleaners’ two Libertyville stores served as drop-off locations for the donations. After the items were collected, Zengeler Cleaners inspected, repaired as needed and cleaned each item, then made sure the donations were ready to go in time for Veterans Day on November 11.

Coats For Vets Drive Nets Record Number of Donations

Zengeler Cleaners’ Candelaria Bello prepares some of this year’s donations of the Coats for Vets Drive for delivery on Veteran’s Day. This year’s annual event gathered more than 8,000 winter apparel items for veterans in need. (Photo: Zengeler Cleaners)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].