As temperatures begin to drop, two businesswomen are ensuring that residents of Santa Barbara have the comfort of a warm coat this winter. Sasha Ablitt, owner of Ablitt’s Fine Cleaners, and Trudi Carey, president of the Carey Group in Santa Barbara, are carrying on a years-long tradition of collecting, cleaning, and distributing coats to residents in need. The coat drive gives Santa Barbarans an opportunity to both clean out their closets and directly support a good cause.
Every other year, Ablitt and Carey pair with the national nonprofit One Warm Coat and encourage community members to donate a coat they no longer use in to someone who cannot afford one of their own. “It was Trudy’s idea, years ago, which is how we got involved,” says Ablitt. “We got all the vans to do the distribution and do the collection.” Ablitt’s also cleans the coats if necessary and pairs with organizations like the Transition House and Unity Shoppe to reach struggling families. But Sasha’s father, Neil, also does much of the distribution by himself.
The community response is always overwhelming. “In our biggest years, we’ve gotten over a thousand jackets,” said Ablitt, who said they often have extras. “If anyone knows of organizations that would need those, please let us know!”
Donations are accepted at Ablitt’s (14 W. Gutierrez Street) during business hours, and customers are welcome to include donations in their pick up service. The drive continues until December 5.