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Monfredo: Help is Needed in Our Community - Coats for Kids Taking Place

Saturday, October 13, 2018


A school district that cares responds to the needs of a community and reaches out to make a difference in the lives of our children. Worcester Public Schools is one of those districts that meets the challenge of assisting the needs of the students.  One of many ways is with their annual “Coats for Kids” program. This program sponsored by the district and supported by the Worcester Educational Development Foundation … its Fiscal Agent.  The program also collaborates with the Principals Association in a fundraising effort to support the program. This year the program, “Coats for Kids” fundraiser and social event will be held from 3:00 to 7:00 P.M. on Wednesday, November 7th at Worcester State University’s May Street building. The admission is $10.00 or whatever amount you wish to donate.

Providing coats to students who otherwise could not buy one does support confidence and self-esteem, and helps them feel more comfortable coming to school.   Thus, many organizations year after year including Hanover Insurance Group, DCU for Kids, Mechanics Hall, Teamsters Local 170, Spring Street School in Shrewsbury, numerous departments within the University of Massachusetts and UMass Memorial and the “Family Medicine and Community Health at UMass Medical School support the program and its concept.  As Judy Savageau from the Department of Family Medicine at Umass stated, “We love the project and hope that people continue to be as generous as they have in the past.”

Keep in mind that the program reaches out to all of the schools including Head Start, the Worcester Family Partnership Program and several area homeless shelters.  Elizabeth Vecchio, staff member in the Safety Office and one who carries on with many roles in the district, coordinates this program. Her face lights up with enthusiasm when she talks about this incredible program.  She acknowledged, “This program provides new warm outerwear to Worcester children in need.  It fosters comfort and confidence in an effort to increase attendance and participation in schools.”  She went on to say that the number one way to break the cycle of poverty is through education.  That these new coats assist children to be able to attend school more often on cold and rainy days but for those children receiving a new coat or outerwear it can be much more that just warmth.  It can inspire happiness and improve peer acceptance, self-respect, school attendance and over-all wellness.  “It tells a child, you’re worth it!  Keeping children healthy and warm throughout the cold winter months can changes lives, echoed Mrs. Vecchio.

Hopefully, I have your attention on this most important project.  So what can the public or businesses do to support this amazing cause?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Attend the Fundraiser on Wednesday the 7th of November
  • Shop for a new winter outerwear – coats, hats, mittens and drop it off at the Durkin Administration Building, Room 008 to Mrs. Vecchio.
  • Donate an item, gift certificate or a themed basket to the event raffle at the Durkin Administration Building
  • Volunteer to unpack and pack coats for distribution
  • Sponsor a Coat Drive at your business or organization
  • Lead a drive at your place of employment and get others involved in helping out
  • Make a monetary donation- make a check payable to the WEDF and mail to – Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Inc.


Attention – 2018 WPS Coats for Kids Program

         210 Park Avenue – Suite 224

         Worcester, Ma. 01609

This program started over 20 years ago in the basement at the Jacob Hiatt Elementary School where children and families could buy a coat for .25 cent. Today, over 3000 coats, hats, and mittens are distributed to children from birth to grade 6, and sweatshirts to middle and high school students annually.

The outerwear in the schools is given out by the principals after the school fills out a “Request Form” for their students in need. According to Mrs. Vecchio, the district has a volunteer day where 1000’s of the outerwear are bagged for pick-up by the school.   The program runs from November through March so requests are filled on an on-going need throughout the winter months.  In addition, many of the items are delivered before the holiday as a much needed gift to the students and their family.

As we look forward to the holiday season, let’s assist with this program and remember this wonderful act of kindness taking place within our community!  Please reach out and help our students in need… I know that I will!


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