Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Pawtucket Red Sox Pawtucket Red Sox

“By a token of a coat,” WooSox join the Worcester County Sheriff Office’s 13th annual winter coat drive

November 2, 2023

The Worcester Red Sox joined the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office on October 24, 25, and 27 for its 13th annual winter coat drive to distribute 4,000 brand new winter coats across Worcester County.

The Worcester Red Sox joined the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office on October 24, 25, and 27 for its 13th annual winter coat drive to distribute 4,000 brand new winter coats across Worcester County.

With Worcester County’s Sheriff Lew Evangelidis spearheading distributions, the winter coat drive visited six nonprofit organizations on Friday, October 27, in North County. At each stop, the Sheriff’s office and other partnering groups dispersed winter coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and sweaters to those in need.

“There’s a lot of need out there,” Sheriff Lew said. “We want to make sure people are warm this winter. Nobody should be cold.”

Along with the WooSox, one of the partnering groups that participated in the winter coat drive was Warmer Winters, a volunteer-driven organization that aims to enhance quality of life by gifting newly made, hand-knitted items throughout the community. Warmer Winters Board President David Roth said he was grateful to the Sheriff’s Office for including Warmer Winters in the winter coat drive every year.

“We’re happy to provide, and we also teach knitting and crocheting to help people get a step up before they hand out,” he said. “I’m just fortunate to have great volunteers like these young and young at heart volunteers that make 5,000 items a year to give away.”

For its final outing until next year, the winter coat drive first stopped at the Gardner Community Action Committee (CAC). Sheriff Lew said it is important to help take care of one another, particularly when some people are in need of winter coats in their homes.

“This is our small way of giving back,” he said. “We also let the community know we care. That’s what this is all about. When you give a coat to someone, I just want them to think to themselves and realize, ‘People care about us.’ This is our way to do it, by a token of a coat.”

The second stop took the winter coat drive just two minutes down the road to Alyssa’s Place, a peer recovery and resource center focused on creating “a warm, welcoming place for those who are facing challenges of substance abuse.” Several people came by the tables to pick up winter coats and greet Woofster the WonderDog.

Exiting Gardner, Restoration Recovery served as the winter coat drive’s third location. Meghan Truitt, Restoration Recovery’s program coordinator, said it is extremely important for distributions and nonprofits to bring people together “from all walks of life.”

“Coming together as a community, it’s not having expectations of being sober or being at a certain level in your mental health,” she said. “It’s just coming where you’re at, being accepted, and getting things that you need, like a coat.”

Truitt also said the winter coat drive and other positive impacts can help to instill hope in some individuals who may be struggling.

“Focusing on the positive and good brings more positive and good,” she said.

Heading east, the winter coat drive visited ACTION Community Health Center before going south to the Leominster Police Department. The sixth and final stop for distributions was the Women’s Recovery Center at Catholic Charities Worcester County. According to Program Director Angelique Bodziak, the organization was able to provide winter coats from last year’s winter coat drive to those who needed them this year.

“For the last few weeks, there was a few cold days, and we were able to provide coats that we had remaining from last year and hats and gloves,” she said. “These will continue being donated and put away.”

According to WooSox Vice President of Community and Player Relations Joe Bradlee, the WooSox have been "proud supporters" of the Worcester County Sheriff's winter coat drive for the past several years.

"[The winter coat drive] has quickly become one of our favorite off-season community events," he said. "We applaud the Sheriff and his entire team for getting winter coats into the hands of people who need them throughout Worcester County.”

Having now completed the 13th annual winter coat drive with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and numerous sponsors, Sheriff Lew said the WooSox have become a “tremendous” partner in their third year as part of the distributions. Because of the winter coat drive, he said he feels “blessed” to have gotten to know so many people in and around the Worcester community.

“[The WooSox] bring Woofster out and Smiley out and it just elevates everybody’s mood to see them and know the WooSox are partnering with us,” Sheriff Lew said. “It’s just really satisfying and it means a lot, the appreciation people have. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together and I think [the winter coat drive] is a great way to demonstrate that.”