PHOTO BY LAURIE GORDONA coat and note ready to be donated to Pass It Along's Note in a Coat Drive.
By Laurie Gordon
NEWTON — There's holiday spirit in every coat that is donated through Pass It Along's Note in a Coat Drive. Unwanted, gently used winter coats and accessories are needed to bring warmth to our area neighborhood in need. People are encouraged to include a small note with any donation, adding a personal touch to somebody’s new coat. The will continue until December 23. Originating in 2001, Note in a Coat provides local families in need with proper winter accessories for the upcoming season. The initiative began with a goal to provide local families with necessities for the winter season. In partnership with Project Self-Sufficiency, Pass It Along also provides winter accessories to local families. Michael Misukonis is Pass It Along's leading staff member in charge of Note in a Coat. He is the non-profit's Director of Programs and Community Engagement. Karen Baldini, Pass It Along's Program Manager, is also taking a role as leader in Note in a Coat this year. These leaders engage with various drop-off locations throughout Sussex County, as well as collect from those specific locations. Misukonis and Baldini will also bring the coats and winter accessories to Project Self-Sufficiency for their event, Seasons of Hope, where the winter gear will be distributed. "Note in a coat and Season of Hope is an amazing opportunity for families in need to get winter necessities for their family,” said Misukonis. “The coats that are collected include an uplifting and positive note written by young people in the community." Note in a Coat has increasingly grown in regard to the quantity of donations and drop-off locations throughout the years, reaching over 2,000 last year in 2017. Pass It Along now includes winter accessories made from its Knit and Crochet Program, led by Beth Bolehala. In addition to Project Self-Sufficiency, partners to make this program a reality lie in: Newton Medical Center (Atlantic Health Systems), First Hope Bank, Lakeland Bank, Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey, ThorLabs, and Brazill Brothers and Associates. Children’s coats and accessories are especially needed. We encourage all to include a small note with any donation, adding a personal touch to somebody’s new coat. Collection bins are located throughout local schools, businesses and community organizations. The following locations are accepting donations: Mohawk Ave School (Sparta), Reverend Brown School (Sparta), Lenape Vally High School (Stanhope), Sussex Tech (Sparta), Wallkill High School (Hamburg), High Point High School (Wantage), Newton High School (Newton), Shear Expressions (Newton), First Hope Bank (Hope, NJ), the Pass It Along Office (Sparta). For any information on donation or drop-off locations, please contact Misukonis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (973) 726-9777 ext. 224. Pass It Along is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in Sparta, N.J.