This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Charlotte Coat Drive, our largest community event. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years – a decade of coming together as a company with other local organizations to serve our community! Each year has warmed our hearts in a special way.
We knew that this year would be a tough one to collect coats given the bevy of challenges our community is facing due to the pandemic. But we also heard the call even louder this year to forge ahead and push harder than ever to help our Charlotte neighbors stay warm by donating to the Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte.
Last year we collected more than 5,100 coats – almost doubling previous years’ final counts. Since we like to aim high, we set this year’s goal at a chart-topping 6,000. We are so grateful for the 2,300+ coats we collected as of publication, but we know YOU, our generous Charlotte community, still has warmth to give, so we have extended the drive through Dec. 31. We know we can keep zipping to that goal!
What have some of our favorite memories been so far? We zipped them up for you below.
Advocates. Ambassadors. All-around amazing people. Who are we referring to? Our barrel partners! From private businesses and public companies to churches and first responders, they are partners in this special cause. We couldn’t do this without them. Thank you to the barrel partners who have been there since the very beginning (we see you Skatell’s & Elite Cleaners!) and the new ones who jumped in with both feet this year. In total we had more than 35 barrel partners and, together, they offered 50+ locations all across Charlotte. We love having these partners by our side; please give all of them a huge round of applause.
Dilworth Grille has been our host location for Zip-Up Day for several years. This year they raised the bar – or glass in this case – even higher. They donated $1 per monthly drink special to the Charlotte Coat Drive for not just one month, not two, but 2.5 months! From Spice of Life to Rum into Fall to an Apple Spritzer, they stirred and shook up some amazing cocktails to allow patrons to say “cheers” to charity.
Who do WE go to for smart southern style? Well, our friend Laura Long of course. Laura was kind enough to spread the word about the Charlotte Coat Drive on social media AND television in the most stylish way: coat chat! Because to clean out your closet to donate, you have to make room for the new ones, right? We love that she gives advice for staying on trend without breaking the bank. ICYMI, get the 411 on 2020’s coat trends on her blog here, on FOX and WBTV. [A special thanks as well to Peppered in Style, Southern Blonde Chic, QueenCityTrends, Silver is the New Blonde, Style Nugget and Local Carolinas for their social media shout-outs.]
As a 2.5+ month campaign, the Charlotte Coat Drive is a sprint and a marathon to our finale event. Coined Zip-Up Day this year, it’s designed to be a quick and easy way for you - our Charlotte community - to drop their coat donations. But we can’t let them go to the effort without providing a cheery greeting and our thanks. (Peep some photos here).
Our furry friends, Chubby Checker and Homer the Dragon, returned this year to offer socially distant high fives and lots of laughs. We decided to take the event to “new heights” this year with the distance that will always remind us of 2020: six feet!!!! Our stilt walker raised the energy of the day as high as it could go!
We were fortunate to have Confetti Castle blow up our entry way with cheer and ChikfilA and Dilworth Grille cook up some amazing food to give to our big-hearted donors. And a special thanks to DJ Jeff from Carolina DJ professionals for spinning the tunes that kept our volunteers’ coat-counting energy on high.
It takes a team to pull this alllllll together. We are so fortunate that every Charlotte Mechanical team member’s heart is truly in the effort.
"I've been with Charlotte Mechanical for eight years, and I've participated in the Charlotte Coat Drive every year, but this is the first year I've been responsible for setting up barrel partners. They have been a joy to work with and we are grateful to each of them! Through this experience, the best feeling is being able to watch how we're helping our community. This has been a really tough year for many people, and it's nice to give back." – Britni Honeycutt, customer service
"As someone who works in heating and air, I can tell you that it's really easy to get caught up in the work year-round. Regardless of that, Charlotte Mechanical sets aside time to help the community throughout the year, too. The Charlotte Coat Drive is our main community initiative, which means that Charlotte Mechanical sets aside time and money and puts employees out into the community in order to keep Charlotte families warm and comfortable. That's really important. I picked up several barrels during the drive, and I can say that's a very cool experience to interact with a lot of businesses and people donating coats. When you see the number of coats you're picking up, it humbles you." – Kris Surber, field technician
The true MVPs of the Charlotte Coat Drive? YOU – our Charlotte community. Whether you dropped a coat (or many!) at a barrel partner; donated online; or visited us (mask on!) at Dilworth Grille during Zip-Up Day, you dug deep in your pockets and closets to help keep Charlotte warm. Thank you. Thank you.
And of course, we must thank our wonderful media partners, WBT/the Link and Southpark magazine for helping us spread the word.
Missed your chance to donate? Don’t fret; there is STILL TIME through Dec. 31, 2020. Visit CharlotteCoatDrive.com to find the barrel partner closest to you. Donate monetarily online. Want to be involved as a barrel partner next year? Contact Britni at email@example.com. Learn more at CharlotteCoatDrive.com.
And, to see all the fun we had with you this year, check our Charlotte Coat Drive Facebook page and give us a follow!