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Over 1,200 Coats Sought for Student-Organized Drive

Madison student is running a Jersey Cares Coat Drive drop-off location at the Madison Area YMCA.

There's one week left to donate coats to the 17th Annual Jersey Cares Coat Drive, which once again has a drop-off location at the Madison Area YMCA.

The drive collects tens of thousands of coats around New Jersey for men, women, children and infants, and the coats are distributed by social service agencies to people in need.

"It takes the hard work of hundreds of individuals and organizations to make the Coat Drive successful," Jersey Cares says on its website.

One of those volunteers is Madison High School junior Elena Haralampoudis, who has arranged to have a drop-off location in Madison at the Madison Area YMCA and sorts the coats with friends. She said in a letter she hopes this year's drive is more successful than last year, when they collected and sorted 1,200 coats donated by the community.

With a tough economy and families affected by Superstorm Sandy, the coats are more needed than ever, she said in a letter.

"Unfortunately, there are even more New Jersey families in need this year, and this drive will give some people a little warmth during the cold months of winter," she wrote. "If you can look through your closets to see if your old coats should be recycled to some needy individuals, we have so many people to help."

The coat bin will remain in the YMCA lobby until Dec. 15. Haralampoudis said the YMCA has "been an irreplaceable partner of the annual Coat Drive."

The Madison Area YMCA is located at 111 Kings Road, Madison. Hours are 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Donation receipts will be available at the drop off site next to the bin.

For more information about the coat drive and ways to help visit http://www.jerseycares.org/JC_Coat_Drive or call 973-424-1091.

Children donating coats also can participate in the "Note in Coat Program," which has them write short notes to children receiving the coats, to be placed in a coat pocket. Notes might include some information about the donor, their favorite memory in the coat, and that they hope the new owner enjoys it. Information about registering for the program is available on the Jersey Cares website.

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