By Stephanie Scott

ow in its 34th year, Porter's Cleaners is hosting its annual Coats for Kids drive. You can make a difference in your community by donating new or gently used coats at any Porter's location. Local schools will also be collecting coats for the drive.

Mark Porter and his family have the passion to help children of our community stay warm in the winter months. You can’t begin to imagine how many children attending school do not have a coat. This program has made a significant difference in many children’s lives. Emily Cain, who works closely with Coats for Kids, said it is one of the most humbling and rewarding experiences she has ever been privileged to be part of.

Once the donations are collected, Porter’s coordinates times for teachers and counselors to select coats for their classroom. Emily said most of the teachers and counselors have participated for many years and have their list of students and sizes ready. They go back to school with a coat for every child and truly are the angels in this program.

Because teachers and counselors have direct contact with the students who can benefit from the program, having their participation is the most effective way to distribute the coats.

The coat drive began in 1988 and the program has handed out tens of thousands of coats to those in need. In addition to teachers and counselors, homeless shelters also benefit from the program. The annual drive concludes with a large distribution event to the public on Jan. 7 at Porter’s on Southfield. New and gently used coats from elementary to adult sizes are needed.

Every coat donated can be a blessing passed on to others.