The Christmas Influence: Coats For Kids Fundraiser Warms The Heart

December 29th, 2014 by Alison Zeringue

CovenantHouseDonationsImageAs the holidays approached this year, I realized I was getting really caught up in gift shopping, party planning, and the usual hustle and bustle. I wanted to do something to help brighten the season for someone who may not have all those same opportunities. After brainstorming with my co-worker, Gabrielle, we thought we could try to get the whole office involved.

Former Influencer Caroline Robinson has stayed in touch with many of us since she left SI to work for Covenant House of New Orleans. She and her fiancé, Charles, have been members of our company kickball and dodgeball teams for the past few seasons. It was Gabrielle who suggested that our office initiative could benefit Covenant House, so we did some research and gave Caroline a call.

What we learned is that Covenant House is a shelter and safe haven for 150 at-risk, runaway, or homeless youth aged 16-22, and it’s just a few blocks away from our office. The staff provides food, shelter, clothing, resources, educational opportunities, and so much more to these young people, even helping them transition into independent living when they are ready. Caroline told us that many of them have never experienced Christmas or the holidays in a positive way before.

The organization always accepts non-perishable food products, gently used clothes, and similar items. We wanted to know if there was anything special or different we could do for them, given the time of year. Caroline let us know that some of the residents have toddlers and babies who also stay at Covenant House, and they are in desperate need of new winter coats this year. So we made it our goal to raise enough funds to purchase all 31 kids a new winter coat and deliver it to Covenant House in time for Christmas!

About Our Fundraiser

  • We didn’t have a lot of time, but we figured we could challenge our fellow Influencers with a one-week donation drive.
  • We asked our teammates to contribute in one or more of the following ways:
    • Monetary donations of whatever they were willing / able to contribute
    • Gently used clothing
    • Non-perishable food items
    • New personal care items such as:
      • Bar soap
      • Body wash
      • Deodorant
      • Toothpaste
      • Toothbrushes
      • Shampoo
      • Hand/body lotion
    • Bath and hand towels
    • Sheets and blankets
  • We set up a tree and some donation boxes in the office and collected donations through the end of the week.
  • On Monday, December 22nd, we delivered our gifts to Covenant House and got to experience a quick tour of the facility.

Amount Raised: $600 in just a single week! This money was used to purchase 31 brand-new winter coats.


Covenant House

Caroline Robinson, former influencer and current volunteer coordinator/development associate for Covenant House in New Orleans, was able to provide info on Covenant House and its mission.

“Covenant House is a safe haven for homeless and at-risk youth ages 16-22. We also have toddlers and babies in our program because many of our young women are mothers. We provide food, shelter, clothing, medical attention, individual and family counseling, educational assistance, vocational and job training, life skills, and so much more. Over the past three years, the number of kids in our program has grown from 45 per night to 150 per night. We would love to give each and every one of these kids a Christmas they will never forget. Most Covenant House residents have never experienced a ‘traditional’ Christmas because their families either couldn’t or wouldn’t provide for them. Our goal is to give everyone a giant gift bag full of practical and fun items they’ll enjoy throughout the year. Every kid will receive what we consider the essentials: a winter coat, socks, underwear, gloves, pajamas, and hygiene products. From there, we provide at least one item from wish lists we receive from every resident. Wishes include video games, purses, baseball hats, jewelry, and more!

We’re always accepting donations and looking for volunteers. Only brand-new items are given out on Christmas Day, but gently used clothing is always accepted for our clothing donation room. We also accept non-perishable food. If you can’t help our kids this Christmas but want to get involved with Covenant House, you can provide a meal, do a service project to keep our grounds well maintained, or run for us in the Crescent City Classic! Covenant House is a charity beneficiary of the race this year, and we’re always looking for more runners.” – Caroline Robinson, Covenant House Volunteer Coordinator/Development Associate.

For more information on how to get involved, email Caroline Robinson at