Seasonal coat drive benefits Gloucester County charities

HFM Investment Advisors coat drive gives back to the community

During a season of giving, the mission of HFM Investment Advisors is to give back to the community, one coat at a time.

HFM, an independent financial planning and investment management firm based in Newark, started collecting for its 11th annual community coat drive on Nov. 15, with the effort running until Jan. 15. With over a dozen dropoff locations across Gloucester County, the company has been able to collect more than 20,000 coats over the years.

The drive started in 2009, when HFM learned about the newly founded Angel’s Clothing Closet, started by then-seventh grader Katelyn Darrow. Her family lost all of their belongings in a fire, and the help they got from the community inspired her to help others.

“This was all we needed to start our drive, and after the first year, we realized there was a great need for warm coats for our fellow neighbors, veterans and those who are homeless,” said Roxanne McGee, client service coordinator for HFM.

The coat drive started to gain more traction seven years ago, when the firm realized that due to the overwhelming amount of donations, it needed to partner with Heart of South Jersey resource center to find additional charities who could use coats.

“Paul and Bernadette Blackstock were incredibly helpful, as they were very connected to so many charities through their organization,” McGee recalled. “Paul just recently passed away, however we are eternally grateful for his and Bernadette’s help over those years and (we) continue to provide coats to all the charities that are near and dear to the Blackstocks.”

This year, HFM will donate to five organizations: Kitchen of Hope in Glassboro, Unforgotten Haven in Blackwood, The Angels Community Outreach in Pitman (formerly Angels of God), Heart of Camden and New Covenant Ministries in Camden.

While the coat drive is a seasonal event, it takes many hours each year to prepare and manage. It starts with contacting each donation site and arranging times and dates for collection.

“After confirmation, we have to print posters and attach them to all our coat drive boxes,” McGee said. “We then must deliver the boxes to over 30 locations around South Jersey. … Our staff will divide the locations and then begin weekly pick up of coats.”

Volunteers from the Y.A.L.E Cherry Hill School help sort the collected coats into men’s, women’s and children sections. They also help drop off the coats to the select charities.

While the drive is seasonal, the HFM Team understands the importance of giving back to the community in other ways each year.

“Our HFM Team and company support our community through fundraisers, board memberships, nonprofit sponsorships and more throughout each year,” McGee noted.

The full list of dropoff locations in the area can be found on the HFM Investment Advisors Facebook page.