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Feb 13th
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Warm Hearts

coatsSixth annual Coats for Kids drive is underway

For the sixth year running, Santa Cruz’s underprivileged children will feel the warmth of a new winter coat this holiday season. The yearly Coats for Kids drive is organized by Santa Cruz’s Classic Cleaners and its owner, Pamela Whittington. Whittington knows firsthand the importance of a winter coat to a child who doesn’t have much else.

When she was a child, Whittington’s mother suffered a severe stroke and became wheelchair bound. Without medical insurance, her family struggled with tremendous financial burdens, making even food and housing a luxury. But each Christmas, they received a donation of a home-cooked meal, a small toy, and a coat.

“Just before Christmas, the Salvation Army would pull up to our house in their uniforms,” says Whittington. “It was so wonderful and it was so embarrassing.”

But despite the shame she felt, the young Whittington anxiously looked forward to that Christmas delivery.

“That coat … I thought about it all year long,” she says. “It was kind of like, ‘I’m a good girl and I’m going to get a good coat.’”

To Whittington, her yearly coats did much more than protect her from inclement weather, and she knows that the children who benefit from Coats for Kids feel the same way.

“You put on a coat when you’re leaving the house in the morning and it covers up what’s going on underneath. It does more than keep you warm,” she says. “If it weren’t for getting a cool coat, I probably wouldn’t have continued my education. I wouldn’t be the person I am.”

So when Whittington purchased the Classic Cleaners business six years ago, she didn’t hesitate to start the annual clothing drive.

“When I started putting the business plan together, [Coats for Kids] was one of the first things I established,” she says. “I believe this is what businesses need to do. It’s not anything special, it’s just what you’re supposed to do.”

Last year, the Coats for Kids drive collected 9,000 coats and distributed them to children throughout Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Though they have only collected 6,000 coats this season, Whittington is hoping that they can collect 10,000 in time for Christmas. In addition to receiving new and gently used coats, the drive has received monetary donations from Bay Federal Credit Union and an anonymous source. Local Girl Scouts used to the funds to purchase new coats at Kohl’s in the Capitola Mall on Dec. 4.  

Whittington hopes to reach the 10,000 coat mark by Dec. 16 so that all of the coats can be distributed by Christmas Eve. However, Classic Cleaners accepts donations year-round and keeps them in storage until the holiday season. The coats will be distributed to children through a number of different organizations, including Head Start and Second Harvest Food Bank. In addition, each foster child in the county will receive a coat through the drive.

 


For more information about Coats for Kids, visit ClassicCleanersSC.com.

 

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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