A brainstorm of Mitchell Schaffer, owner of Mobile Edge, 52 Blakeslee Blvd., Lehighton, made winter a little warmer for 250 needy children in Carbon County last year.
Schaffer had been watching the news about a community doing a coat drive for children and decided to organize one for Carbon County children who do not have coats for the winter.
Schaffer said that while growing up he never had to worry about having a decent coat. He said he never realized that there are a lot of children who are cold every day at the bus stop or on their way to and from school.
His thoughts moved him into action, and he provided his store for collections.
He called his promotion, "Coats for Kids."
Mobile Edge sells and installs a lot of remote car starters during the colder months. He figured this would be a great tie in. Customers who brought in a new or gently used coat received up to $50 off a remote car starter purchase.
Soon lots of people were bringing coats into his store.
While some customers were thrilled with the discount, he found that many more people just wanted to help and were dropping off coats at his store because they cared.
Because he was able to help so many youngsters last year, Schaffer decided that the Coats for Kids drive would be part of every holiday season.
Schaffer will accept coats for children at his business until Dec. 31.
Schaffer paired up with Care Net of Carbon County, who helped distribute the coats to needy families in Carbon County. Care Net is a nonprofit organization that receives no government funding. They will be helping him again this year with coat distribution. Shaffer will also work with any other local non-profits who provide free items to the needy.
Schaffer said that since the Coats for Kids project was so successful last year, he expanded the project by starting earlier in the season. He hopes to collect 400 coats this year.
Mobile Edge has been collecting coats since early September.
Schaffer said that if anyone has an old, gently-used coat, they could bring it in and receive a discount.
While he is focusing on children's coats, he will accept coats of all sizes because mommies and daddies get cold too. He is asking that coats brought in for donation are in decent shape.
Mobile Edge is active in their industry and on social media sites like Facebook. He shared his program with a lot of other retailers at a recent seminar he presented in Dallas, TX. Schaffer said that he was happy to find that several other shops like his throughout the nation are adopting the idea and are running similar drives in their own communities.
"It's nice to see that something that we started here in Carbon County has spread to other parts of the country," he said. "It allows a lot more children in need to benefit."
"There is no catch," said Schaffer. "Warm yourself and warm a child at the same time."
For more information about the coat drive see the Mobile Edge website at www.MobileEdgeonline.com.