By Konstantine Fekos
Local department store Peebles is jumping on the charity bandwagon with its own special kind of coat drive to support the Center for Family Services (CFS).
Store Manager Mike Higham brought Peebles on board after seeing an article in The Meadville Tribune’s Nov. 27 issue, calling attention to CFS deficit in coat donations.
“It’s for the kids; you see kids need a coat and it’s cold out,” he said. “I saw the article and thought to myself, that’s something we should be able to do.”
Peebles customers can purchase coats for children and adults on Friday and donate them to CFS on the spot. While the charity effort is scheduled to last the entirety of store hours, Higham expects a CFS truck to receive donations on site from about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“I thought it would be helpful for customers to buy a coat and actually see it go to Family Services,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll load the truck.”
Hoping to promote generosity, Higham and other business managers plan to offer incentives for potential donors.
Anyone purchasing a new coat for CFS collection can enter a drawing for the chance to win a $100 Peebles gift certificate. Higham is hoping to offer Pizza Hut gift certificates as second- and third-prize drawings.
Donors are eligible for additional Peebles coupons and can also receive a $10 gift certificate to Kentucky Fried Chicken, courtesy of Franchise Manager Gary Cocolin, for their purchases.
Higham also approached the Boot Box, which gave eight coats to kickstart the Peebles effort, which may involve sales to further sweeten the deal for potential donors.
“We encourage people to buy any size coats, but we’re looking to stock extra on children’s items,” said Higham, bringing attention to CFS’ emphasis on a shortage of children’s items, but reminding customers that adult sizes are needed as well. “It’s amazing how many people ask who collects coat donations or if we work with any charity organizations.”
Higham is curious to see how Friday plays out and hopes to make the event a tradition, depending on the day’s success.
“This is our potential chance to do some good,” he said, mentioning the store’s constant outlook for community service opportunities. “Every kid loves to get a new coat, when it’s still crisp and fresh. It’s hard to believe that in this day and age, some kids don’t even have a coat.”
Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.