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West Michigan Taco Bell patrons donate over 500 winter coats in 10 days

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Coats from Taco Bell coat drive sorted out at the Steil Club.

Coats from Taco Bell coat drive sorted out at the Steil Club. /Sara Schneider

Over 250 coats were collected to support youth in Grand Rapids.

Over 250 coats were collected to support youth in Grand Rapids. /Sara Schneider

Numerous garbage bags full of winter coats filled Boys & Girls Clubs this week.

Numerous garbage bags full of winter coats filled Boys & Girls Clubs this week. /Sara Schneider

Over a span of only ten days, West Michigan residents succeeded in making winter a little warmer for over 500 members of Boys & Girls Clubs in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Holland, and Battle Creek.  Fifty local Taco Bell restaurants collected winter coats starting December 14th and lasting through December 23rd. In return for a donation, customers received a free combo meal valuing about $5.

This year, Taco Bell stepped up in a time of need after discovering that previously involved organizations would not be holding a coat drive for Boys & Girls Clubs. All 50 participating Taco Bell locations received coat donations, but the location on 28th St. and Burlingame in Wyoming managed to collect the most, donating four extra large garbage bags full of winter coats.
Ranging in size and style, the coats will be distributed to Club members displaying a need for clothing to battle the frigid Michigan winter. About half of the donated jackets were from the Grand Rapids area and will be split up between the Steil Club and Seidman Club located in Grand Rapids.
“This is our first time running the coat drive, and it was very successful,” said Michelle Lewis, Supervisor of Training for Chicago Diversified Foods. “It wasn’t really Taco Bell though; it was all thanks to the kindness of our patrons.”
Despite the generosity and great results seen in this year’s coat drive, a new winter coat is not always enough to ward off Michigan’s brutal lake effect.
“A coat is definitely the biggest necessity for our Club members,” said Steil Club Director Kim Krajniak, “But we all know the common theory that if your head and feet are still bare and cold, a winter coat is not going to be able to keep you warm.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids are continuing to accept donations of new winter hats, gloves, scarves, and socks. For more information on how to donate, contact the Club Directors at (616) 233-9370.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth
In every community, boys and girls are left to find their own recreation and companionship in the streets. An increasing number of children are at home with no adult care or supervision. Young people need to know that someone cares about them. Founded in 1938 by Grand Rapids Superintendent of Police Frank O’Malley, Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth engages youth in building positive and meaningful relationships with police officers, staff and adults through programs in the areas of recreation, education, leadership development, healthy life skills, arts, education and positive community services. Boys & Girls Clubs offer programs and services that promote and enhance development by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence. For more information about Grand Rapids Boys & Girls Clubs visit


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I work in a large office building with other companies, I wonder if myself and others in  similar situatiions could put up some signs for coat and winter accessories donations...