Ten-year-old Zoe Plante asked her friends to donate coats to the United Neighbors Winter Coat Drive in lieu of  gifts for her recent birthday party. "Some people brought more than one coat; they brought two or three," she reported. When asked why she did this, she said "It's nice for people to have a coat in the winter when it's going to be freezing." She said that helping people stay warm is "a bigger gift" than anything she might be given. "I'm very proud of her," said her mother. "Thirty-one coats were donated," said United Neighbors Executive Director Wendy Garf-Lipp, "And two went out the door today!" The annual Winter Coat Drive brings in hundreds of coats, both new and gently used, that are given to adults and children in Fall River, many of whom cannot afford both clothing and food for their families. Zoe's mother, who works in the Fall River Probate Court, heard about the coat drive through a hairdresser that both Wendy and she know. Jeannie Bettencourt of Trenz Salon is responsible for bringing in dozens of coats that her customers donate. Click here for a two-minute video of Zoe and her mother.  For more information about the Winter Coat Drive, contact Wendy Garf-Lipp at 508-324-7900.

(Top row, left) Ten-year-old Zoe Plante and her father and mother meet at the United Neighbors of Fall River's offices where coats for this year's Coat Drive are stored and distributed to needy Fall River Families. (Top row center and right) Zoe's mom, Laurie Plante, listens as Zoe describes how she came to the decision to ask her friends to donate coats rather than give her birthday gifts. (Middle row) United Neighbors of Fall River Executive Director Wendy Garf-Lipp shows Zoe some of the other items that United Neighbors collects for needy families. (Bottom row) Laurie and Wendy talk about their mutual connection with a hair dresser who has been supplying coats for the Coat Drive for the past several years. 

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