NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Winter is around the corner and kids needed to be prepared for the cold weather ahead. Saturday was the first Coats 4 Kids distribution of the year.
Capitol Cleaners in Niagara Falls is where Joe Petrozzi was first inspired to help kids whose families can't afford winter coats. He'd see them shivering on their way to school.
"It's cold, and they're all shriveled up trying to keep warm. And I'd make them come into the store to warm up on their way to school," he recalled.
Thanks to the drive Petrozzi started, kids like Dick Welch's grandchildren won't be shivering this winter.
"It means a lot to her. It means a lot. It'll be warm this winter, I'll tell you that right now," Welch said.
Many families now rely on Coats 4 Kids every year. The drive is accepting coats, jackets, hats and gloves for children ranging from infant to teen.
Niagara University President Father Joseph Levesque said, "It is incredible because it's new to them. It's a Christmas prize that's come early. It's an amazing thing."
Petrozzi is hoping to give out a thousand coats this year, or maybe even more. But he says donations this year have been down, likely because the weather has been pretty mild.
"The money they have, that they would have to spend on the kids' coats, they can maybe spend it on food or toys for the kids at Christmastime," Petrozzi said.
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