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Colvin Cleaners Coats 4 Kids Program

The unseasonably warm weather we are experiencing has had a direct effect on the donation of coats and winter items for the 22nd annual Colvin Cleaners Coats 4 Kids Program, supported by The Allstate Foundation and Fidelis Care and presented by News 4 and KISS 98.5 with Janet Snyder. With the first distribution date less than three weeks away, Colvin Cleaners officials are concerned.

From left, Cyndee Billoni and her son, Christopher, Vice President of Colvin Cleaners, preparing for guests to arrive at a distribution last fall.

“We are not asking for the shirt off your back. We’re just hoping for the coats in the back of your closet,” explained Christopher A. Billoni, Vice President of the family owned 87 years young Colvin Cleaners. “Western New York is an extremely generous community and we remain confident donations will increase as we head into November.”

Paul A. Billoni, President and CEO of Colvin Cleaners, added, “With the support of the Allstate Foundation and Fidelis Care, I am very excited because we now have more than 40 donation locations throughout WNY which makes it very convenient for people to donate new or gently used coats, jackets, gloves, hats and scarves. With their support we will be able to supply coats to all families who otherwise could not afford them.

“Don’t let this weather fool you. It is going to get cold,” he added.

Donations of coats and winter items can be made through December at Colvin Cleaners, 2375 Elmwood, Kenmore, Allstate Insurance agencies and Fidelis Care. For a complete listing and addresses of all locations, visit www.coats4kidswny.com.

From left, Volunteers Tracey Fest, Mitchell Fest, Mayor Byron Brown, Cyndee, Paul, Christopher Billoni during a distribution of coats last fall at Colvin Cleaners

Fidelis Care has supported Coats 4 Kids for years. “Our commitment to serve children, adults, and families reach far beyond health coverage,” said Jennifer Lyons, Fidelis Care Director of Marketing. “As a mission-driven health plan, we are proud to support programs that directly benefit the most vulnerable population within our local community.”

Kayla Taylor, New York Allstate spokesperson, said, “Allstate agents help protect customers from life’s uncertainties; as small business owners, their passion is to make sure the people in their local communities are well taken care of, through all of life’s challenges. We are so happy to partner with Colvin Cleaners once again, and support their efforts in giving the gift of warmth to local families in need by collecting coats, scarves and other winter essentials at close to 40 Allstate agency locations across WNY.”

Longtime advocate Janet Snyder

Janet Snyder of KISS 98.5’s Janet and Nick in the Morning show has been a long-time advocate of the Colvin Cleaners’ Coats 4 Kids Program and its Gowns for Prom Program because they support our neighbors in need.

“As we move into the cold winter months in WNY, giving the gift of warmth can make all the difference.  The city of good neighbors always comes through, so please donate to Coats 4 Kids!,” she said.

News 4 anchor Melanie Orlins is a spokesperson for the program

News 4 Buffalo has also been a long-time media presenter of the program. Dominic Mancuso, WIVB/WNLO Vice President & General Manager said, “Coats 4 Kids is an important part of what we do in our mission to serve our community. We’re proud to work with our great partners every year in playing a small role in helping our community help others stay warm during the winter.   No one turns out and gives back like the people of Western New York.”

The Coats 4 Kids distribution dates are: Saturday, November 11: True Bethel Baptist Church, 907 East Ferry St., Buffalo 14211; Saturday, November 18: Colvin Cleaners Warehouse, 2365 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore 14217 and Saturday, December 2: Knights of Columbus, 36 Pierce Avenue, Hamburg 14075. All distributions are held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. with a limit of one coat per person.

Colvin Cleaners, the only WNY drycleaners to use the environmentally friendly Green Earth cleaning solution, Colvin Cleaners has collected, cleaned, sorted and distributed, for free, more than 80,000 coats to children in need over the past 21 years.

Unfortunately, it has seen the need increase annually. “I am confident our generous neighbors throughout WNY will come through again for this much needed drive,” Paul Billoni said.

From left, Volunteers Angelo and Giovanni Puccio, Paul and Cyndee Billoni, Tracey Fest, Mike O’Brien, Mitchell Fest and Christopher Billoni.
Colvin Cleaners President Paul Billoni holds a toddler whose family selected a warm winter coat for him,

He explained the growth and success of this much-needed program each winter is simply a result of the lessons taught by his parents, Tony and Jo Billoni, when he joined the business 41 years ago. “Our parents showed by example the importance of helping others in need and this program follows the Colvin Cleaners mission of Caring for Your Cloths. Our staff also goes out of its way to clean and sort the coats by size for families because they know how appreciative they are when they attend a distribution event and find a coat they otherwise could not afford.”

“For us, it is all worthwhile when families come in and go through the racks of coats or pick out a pair of gloves that will keep them warm this winter. When they smile or say thank you, it puts tears in your eyes,” he added.

Written by Michael J. Billoni

Michael J. Billoni

A journalist for nearly 50 years who was an award-winning sports reporter for the Buffalo Courier-Express until it closed in 1982. He was the former vice president/general manager of the Buffalo Bisons and a member of the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame. Handled the promotions and publicity for Buffalo’s undefeated heavyweight boxer, “Baby Joe” Mesi. Founder and is managing partner of Billoni Associates. He authored and managed “Robert E. Rich—Memoirs of an Innovator,” the biography of the founder of Rich Products Corp; published 'All In," the memoir of businessman Ronald Zoeller and is currently publishing The Seasons of Buffalo Baseball, the most comprehensive history of professional baseball in the city. It will be released April 17, 2020.

Mike and is wife Debbie love Western New York and always try to help others and encourage positive thoughts

View All Articles by Michael J. Billoni
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