We wanted to tell you one more heartwarming story about last month's AEP Ohio Coat Drive with Columbus Division of Police. When we set off to purchase coats, we were unable to order any. Our normal retail partner said that due to either tariffs or the pandemic they weren't getting enough in for their own stores. They were unable to order in bulk for us or other charities. They'd even checked with their competitors and found they were in the same situation.
We reported back to AEP Ohio what was happening. We thought we'd need to return the money and that this year's coat drive would be another casualty of a tough year. But AEP Ohio said they had complete faith in us, and that they knew we'd work it out. (Truly, they had more faith in us than we had in ourselves!)
Starfish Financial Secretary, Suzanne Maginn, started calling every retailer she could think of that sells coats, until she reached Bonnie, the manager at Macy's (Polaris Fashion Place). Bonnie was instantly interested in helping officers get coats for kids in need. She put Suzanne in touch with a personal shopper, Wendy, who actually handles bulk purchases a lot in her job. She is also a wonderfully happy person who put her all into helping us get the most value for our dollar. For example, she told us if we converted our money to gift cards, we ended up with an extra $1,000, which meant more coats for kids! Yay!! We also had some money left over, which we put towards buying small tins of popcorn that we gave out towards officers who picked up coats.
Our 2020 Coat Drive was wonderful and we were able to get coats directly to over 600 kids who needed them! We're so grateful to AEP Ohio for supporting this event (and for believing we could pull it off!) and to Macy's for being so kind, such a joy to work with, and for helping us get even more coats to children. As always, thanks to our police officer friends. We hope to see all of you again in December!