By MADDY VITALE
Each fall, local realtor Gloria Votta is touched by the outpouring of support the community extends to a clothing drive she started about nine years ago.
“The whole community donates,” Votta said Monday. “Residents and people who are second homeowners see it advertised and give. People are so generous.”
The “Warmth for Winter Coat, Blanket & Boot Drive” by the Ocean City Board of Realtors began Oct. 5 and continues until Nov. 27.
Votta and fellow realtor Damon Bready, president of the Board of Realtors, are in charge of the drive.
They are collecting gently used and new coats, sweaters, blankets, snow boots, hats, scarves, and more. Cash donations are also accepted, which are in turn used to purchase coats and other necessities for those in need by Votta and other volunteers.
The clothing drive has been organized by the Board of Realtors in cooperation with the Clothes Closet of the Ocean City Ecumenical Council, an association of local churches that gives families in need some assistance.
Clothing donations can be dropped off at the Board of Realtors office at 405 22nd Street. Then the items are donated to the Ocean City Ecumenical Clothes Closet, at Fifth Street and West Avenue, to provide for needy families.
Anyone who is a resident of Ocean City may pick up their clothing at the Clothes Closet.
Volunteers are asking people to donate children’s and men’s warm clothing.
Money donations also are accepted because Votta and others will go out and buy men’s coats, children’s clothing and other items that are needed.
Sometimes stores offer discounts on winter wear and six additional coats for men and children can be purchased, Votta said.
The hope this year is that there is an abundance of donations in all areas needed, she noted.
Selecting October to begin the clothing drive has a lot to do with the weather, Votta explained.
“Changing over your clothes, putting your summer stuff away and taking out winter clothes is a good time for the drive,” she said. “The first time there is a chill in the air people start thinking about what they need or don’t need.”
Over the years Votta has thought from time to time about how many pieces of clothing have been given to the clothing drive to help others not as fortunate.
“In the very beginning, it was a slow process. Now it all just happens. It all just comes together,” she said. “I pick the dates and people just come in to donate and every year we even have a caravan of people who volunteer. It is just amazing.”
Clothing donations may be dropped off at the Board of Realtors office at 405 22nd Street. To arrange for clothing pickups, people may call the office at (609) 399-0128. The office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.