NORTHBROOK, Ill. — Lake County, Illinois, communities responded in record numbers to the annual “Coats for Vets” drive, sponsored by Zengeler Cleaners and Libertyville Sunrise Rotary. The 2022 collection drive netted 7,861 coats and jackets, as well as hundreds of winter necessities, such as gloves, scarves and other seasonal clothing in support of local veterans.
The items were collected from mid-October through Nov. 11 — Veteran’s Day — then inspected, cleaned and delivered to the North Chicago VA Hospital by Zengeler Cleaners.
“Veterans Day is a time set aside to give a grateful nation an opportunity each year to recognize and honor our veterans,” says Tom Zengeler, president of Zengeler Cleaners. “It’s been well documented that vets returning from active duty face a myriad of serious challenges as they readjust to civilian life, perhaps none more challenging than finding a productive job that matches their skills. Too often, jobs held before leaving to serve are no longer available, making it very difficult to find meaningful work.”
Libertyville Rotary Sunrise, Zengeler Cleaners, its customers and other concerned citizens contribute to “Coats for Vets” as a way to thank veterans for their sacrifices. It’s clear that opportunity resonates throughout the local community, organizers say, as the response for the 2022 drive went beyond all their expectations.
With so many veterans surviving conflicts from World War II through the present time, there are tens of thousands needing assistance for basics such as food, shelter and clothing, particularly seasonal items, such as winter coats, jackets and gloves.
Zengeler Cleaners’ two Libertyville stores served as drop-off locations for the donations. After the items were collected, the Zengeler staff inspected, repaired as needed, and cleaned each donated item. Zengeler Cleaners then delivered the clothing for distribution by the VA Hospital.
“Our staff was blown away by the results of this year’s collection drive,” says Zengeler. “The volume really drove home the message about just how much our customers and neighbors care about the country’s veterans.”
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