Bucks County Student Starts Program to Collect Coats for the Needy

Pennsbury High School student Sammy McCormick wants people to know that winter doesn’t have to be cold anymore.

That’s because Sammy McCormick, 15, has teamed up with a local church and restaurant to provide warm winter coats for those in need. She calls the program Zips4Winter.

Sammy and a friend initially created the Zips4Winter program to earn their bronze award with the Girl Scouts when they were in the fifth grade. The program was such a success that, this year, Sammy decided to bring it back to life.

“When I realized how much it helped people, I decided to keep doing it,” Sammy said. “I think it’s really important that people realize that people are still in need; especially with all of the snow this year. It helps a lot of local homeless and families stay warm.”

Zips4Winter collects new and gently worn coats from anyone who is willing to contribute. Sammy and crew then host giveaway days at the Thornridge Community Church in Fairless Hills, Pa., where people in need can browse the selection of donated coats and choose the ones they desire at no cost.

In a little less than four months, the program has given away more than 50 free coats and collected more than 200 coats, the rest of which will be given away in January.

Sammy’s mother Tracy McCormick says her daughter’s effort to provide coats for the less fortunate can sometimes be a tedious task.

“We took a little break for the holiday but Sammy works very hard to keep the program going,” she said.

“On giveaway days people can shop for the coat that fits them best. Some are new, some are gently used.  But we have to do all the work to make sure they’re clean and in good condition; we tag them with the sizes, and whether it’s for a boy or girl. It’s a lot of work but it’s for a good cause.”

Vince Robinson owns the KrisCroix Family Restaurant in Fairless Hills that serves as a coat drop-off location for Zips4Winter. He says his restaurant fully supports the Zips4Winter mission to help keep people warm through the winter.

“We have a box here for them in our restaurant. We did a fundraiser for it once before too where we gave 20 percent off of food and gave it Zips4Winter,” Robinson said. “I think it’s a great program and the young lady does a great job with it.”

Zips4Winter has three coat giveaway days remaining in January. Information about how to donate or how to get free coats for those in need is posted on the Zips4Winter Facebook page.

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