Launched in 1986 and after 27 years of service to the community’s most vulnerable citizens, the United Way of Chatham-Kent has revamped its signature “Operation Cover-Up” Program to provide a better opportunity for recipients to receive warm winter coats. 

Working with its traditional partners – Chatham-Kent Professional Fire Fighters Association, Chatham-Kent Police Services, Maycourt Club, The Salvation Army, the numerous local dry cleaners … and in consultation with the Prosperity Roundtable … United Way will launch the 2013 program during Prosperity Awareness Week which begins Monday, 2013 OCT 14.  (Details about other events to be held during Prosperity Awareness Week will be announced shortly!) 

This year’s Collection Period – for those individuals wishing to donate coats – will run from Tuesday, 2013 OCT 01 to Tuesday, 2013 OCT 15.  Donors can drop off their gently worn winter coats – especially kids coats and plus sizes, please – to dry-cleaning locations throughout Chatham-Kent (as posted on the attached flyer). 

The Distribution Period – traditionally administered over a four-day period in mid-October – will be extended to nine weeks commencing Tuesday, 2013 OCT 15 and ending Saturday, 2013 DEC 14.  Coats will no longer be distributed from St. Andrews United Church but available at all Salvation Army Thrift Store locations in Chatham, Ridgetown and Wallaceburg plus the Salvation Army Food Bank housed at Blenheim Baptist Church and United Way’s West Chatham-Kent Outreach Office – the Tilbury Information and HELP Centre.  New printed coupons will be provided throughout the network of social services and efforts will be made by program partners to ensure that appropriate sizes are made available at the various distribution locations. 

“This new format will hopefully address a number of issues raised, over the years, by our recipients,” said Karen Kirkwood-Whyte, United Way’s CEO.  “Firstly, we are extending the distribution period from four days to nine weeks to give our families more time to secure a warm winter coat and moving the distribution location from one location to five in order to address issues related to transportation and family schedules.  With any change like this, there will likely be other challenges in trying to accommodate the needs throughout Chatham-Kent.  Our partners are committed to doing their best to protect the dignity of those we serve.” 

This community impact program addresses needs within the following three focus areas, recently adopted by United Way as part of its strategic planning process: From Poverty to Possibility, Strong Communities and All That Kids Can Be. 

For additional information, please contact Volunteer Good Neighbours Program Co-Ordinators, Kathy Martel or Correen Morris at 519-354-0430 or e-mail United Way CEO, Karen Kirkwood-Whyte at