Warm Coats Drive Finishes With a Bang

More than 200,000 coats have been donated during the third annual Warm Coats and Warm Hearts Drive that distributes winter outerwear to the needy.

Today is the last day for donations to the drive that is sponsored by "Good Morning America," retailer Burlington Coat Factory and the nonprofit organization One Warm Coat.

The drive netted 177,339 coats last year and 175,125 the year before. More than 209,000 coats have already been donated this year.

The coats -- and other donated outerwear, including scarves and gloves -- are distributed free of charge to those who are in need.

Donations Come From Celebrities and Ordinary Americans

Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, who donated 150 coats today, was the latest in a long line of celebrities to assist in the effort. Other big names who pitched in included race car driver Danica Patrick, actress Susan Lucci, the stars of the Broadway show "Wicked" and the cast of "Ugly Betty."

But the stars weren't the only people who helped. The Fire Department of New York, the cities of Las Vegas, San Antonio and San Francisco, Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, Girl Scouts Troop 4091 of New York and Americans from across the country gave the warmth of a winter coat.

Recipients such as Tarajee Saleem, a mother of five, were touched by the outpouring. Saleem and her husband lost their New York City home to an electrical fire more than a year ago.

Since then, times have been especially hard.

"As a parent, you put your children first," she said. "I was able to get their things, their coats … but I wasn't able to get a coat for myself."

Saleem has a coat now.

Woman Calls Coat 'A Blessing'

Another mother, Lenora Gregory, acknowledged that she made "bad choices" in life, choices that led to her even becoming homeless at one point.

She wears her winter coat to the part-time job she now has, and plans to go back to school.

"I know what it is to be out there with nothing," Gregory said. "I know how it is to have nothing. So for anyone that gives me anything, I'm appreciative of it, and a coat is really a blessing."

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