Thousands of Coats Collected for Vets

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The sign at Zengeler Cleaners’ Park Avenue store in Libertyville, Ill., salutes the community for its donations. (Photo: Zengeler Cleaners)

Staff Writer |

Zengeler Cleaners, Rotary Sunrise team up for annual drive

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. — Zengeler Cleaners and Libertyville Rotary Sunrise teamed up for their 2016 Coats for Vets clothing drive and collected 4,128 coats, along with hundreds of pairs of gloves, scarves and other winter garments, Zengeler reports.

“Our veterans face serious challenges as they return from active duty,” says Tom Zengeler, president of Zengeler Cleaners. “Perhaps none more difficult than readjusting to civilian life and returning to the workforce. Sadly, many jobs held before leaving to serve our country are frequently no longer available, which makes it very challenging to find meaningful work.”

Rotary Sunrise, Zengeler Cleaners and its customers, and many others contribute to the drive to “show our gratitude for the sacrifices veterans have made on behalf of all of us,” Zengeler says. “It’s a meaningful way to thank our vets for providing the freedom we enjoy.”

Zengeler Cleaners’ two Libertyville stores once again served as drop-off locations for the donations. After the items were collected, the Zengeler staff inspected, repaired as needed, and cleaned every donated item. They also supported the effort by delivering the clothing, the company notes.

The response to the annual collection drive was tremendous, Zengeler indicates, with donations exceeding $400,000 in retail value, but there’s no way to measure how much the donations mean to vets in need.

The coats, gloves, scarves and other winter clothing were delivered to the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, Ill., on Veterans Day.

With surviving veterans of conflicts from World War II right through to present, thousands of veterans need assistance, Zengeler says. Basics such as food, shelter and clothing are often difficult to come by, and particularly seasonal items, such as winter coats and jackets. That was the motivation that helped launch the collection drive a few years ago.

“Fortunately, support for Coats for Vets has grown each year,” says Zengeler. “People really care about our veterans.”

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