“Wow, wow, wow!” said Trudi Carey, Chair of the “One Warm Coat” charity drive held in December which, according to Carey, “was like a runaway train of Santa Barbara goodness!”

Trudi wanted to have the coat drive in a location that would be easy and convenient for residents to drop off their coats. She immediately thought of Twincups Drive up Coffee & Frozen Yogurt as many residents pass by on their way to Trader Joe’s on Calle Real and asked if they would join in as the drop off site. Twincups agreed and Patterson Self-Storage and Santa Barbara Wine Storage then volunteered to give each donor dropping off coats a $5.00 gift certificate for coffee, frozen yogurt or a croissant treat as a thank you at Twincups. As she wondered how she was going to deliver the donated coats, Trudi remembered seeing Ablitt’s Fine Cleaners delivery truck driving past her office on Calle Real at Patterson and picked up the phone. Owner Sasha Ablitt answered and was thrilled to join the team. Ablitt offered not only one of her home delivery trucks for pick up and drop off, but also offered to clean each coat before taking them to local charities. In addition Ablitt’s on Gutierrez Street became a downtown drop of location and volunteered to pick up used coasts at their client’s homes. Ablitt’s thought was that everyone desired a “Clean, Warm Coat.”

Once Trudi’s team was assembled it was time to get the word out to the community. Peter Bie of Rincon Broadcasting offered to record a public service announcement in English and Spanish which ran on their six radio channels. Ablitt’s mailed notices to their customers and ran a radio spot daily in December. Catherine Remak of “Gary and Catherine” volunteered to have Trudi phone-in and describe the coat drive to listeners live on-air. The Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce as well as Mark Schneidman of Real Estate Talk Radio also volunteered air-time on their radio shows to promote the charity drive. Coldwell Banker agents collected coats at their office and brought them in. The Goleta Chamber of Commerce along with the Santa Barbara Board of Realtors announced the coat drive at their breakfast meetings. Press releases were run in Edhat, The Independent, Montecito Journal, Casa Realtor, Parent Click and the Santa Barbara News-Press. The charities coordinator for San Marcos High School contacted Trudi about participating and soon over fifty coats arrived. One good idea and a lot of warm hearts made Carey’s “One Warm Coat” drive a big success.

Over 1,042 coats were delivered to the Rescue Mission, Transition House, Santa Barbara Crisis Center, Casa Esperanza, Salvation Army and the Family Service Agency. Mr. Ablitt and his wife, both retired, volunteered to drive the delivery truck with the coats themselves. Carey marveled that Ablitt’s cleaned 1,042 donated coats and delivered them all before Christmas! Twincups Drive-Up Coffee & Yogurt served many coffees and treats to donors and collected all of the donated coats before they were picked up by Ablitt’s. Trudi wants to give an extra special thanks to all the Santa Barbara residents who gave so generously and added “we plan on making this an annual event!” Everywhere I started to go people were handing me coats from their car trunks! I picked up coats at my dentist, pilates and even tennis.

Trudi Carey is a local architect, real estate broker and general contractor heading up The Carey Group Inc., Patterson Self-Storage & Santa Barbara Wine Storage. Trudi can be reached at (805) 964-7000 x107, www.pattersonselfstorage.com, www.sbwinestorage.com, and www.careygrouphomes.com.


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