Winter Clothing Drive
Fifteen years ago, the Plymouth-Canton VVA Chapter 528 decided to start a Winter Clothing Drive to benefit homeless veterans. VVA Chapter 528 decided to donate $2,000 to the Drive and we have continued to donate that amount every year. We have also asked the community to donate “gently used” or new clothing.
We have partnered with several organizations to help with this Drive:
- Gathering locations for the community to donate clothing
- Plymouth VFW 6695
- First United Methodist Church of Garden City
- Kohl’s on Ford Road in Canton
- The clothing recipients
- Michigan Veterans Foundation in Detroit
- Veterans Haven in Westland (now closed)
- Love a Michigan Vet Project in Lincoln Park
Our normal process is to gather the community donated clothing for a three week period between Thanksgiving and mid-December. We ask that year’s recipient organization, which is rotated every year, what their clothing needs are. We take this list to the Kohl’s Store where they help us purchase the clothing with the best discounts we can get. We load up the clothing, normally five to six vehicles and take them to that year’s recipients.
Our shopping trip to Kohl’s qualifies our VVA Chapter for “Kohl’s Cash” and Rewards which we then use to buy more clothing items and donate them to the Ann Arbor VA Hospital.
2020 Kohls Shopping Trip – COVID-19 Restrictions
THIS YEAR OUR SHOPPING TRIP WAS MUCH DIFFERENT AS WE ONLY HAD A SMALL GROUP CONSISTING OF John Heraghty, Jim Hodgson, Ron King and Bob Dew. We had additional help from KOHLS Employees Sherri, Don, Barb and Lisa Grasso Store Manager. Our budget this year was $3250 thanks to additional donation of $1000.00 from PLAV 61, $150.00 from Dan and Kathy McLean, and $100.00 from Don Kohler a Kohls employee and Vietnam Veteran.We did go over by $103.11 but were able to deliver retail value in winter clothing to Love a Michigan Vet Project of $10,987.60 on Monday November 24, 2020. On Monday December 7, 2020 the four of us went back to Kohls and finalized our shopping with the help of Lisa Grasso spending our Kohl’s Cash, Rewards and another $20.00 donation by a Kohl’s customer totaling $1,175.00 for Men’s and Ladies under ware and flannel pants. Store discounts of $2,026.65 provided us retail value in clothing of $3201.65. for the VA Ann Arbor Hospital. Our Winter Clothing Event this year providing a grand total of $13,189.25 in retail value of clothing for homeless and hospitalized veterans.
We had 17 members and friends (one Korean War Vet and one Iraqi War Vet) at breakfast at Bob Evans! We all went down Ford Road to meet Lisa (the manager) and her wonderful staff at Kohl’s. Once again Lisa made sure we got the best deal possible on the $1,999 and some odd cents that we spent. Treasurer Dew was on hand to ensure we did not go over the limit that we had requested from the Chapter. The group then separated to pick up the clothing collected at the VFW Post in Plymouth and the First United Methodist Church of Garden City. We then headed downtown to the Detroit Veterans Center to deliver the clothing. As always the Veterans that work and live there were very appreciative. Tyrone Chatman pulled the troops together to give us a special thank you.
Thank you to all who helped in any way!
John Fleming, Chairman