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Community benefits from holiday coat drive

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As the holiday season moved in, the ninth grade “islands” and countless community members, benefited from one charitable Oak Harbor business owner in the coat drive, hosted from Nov. 8 to Dec. 5 at OHHS. Christine Westman, owner of Island Cleaners, dry cleaned about 250 collected coats, undoubtedly costing over $3000 for free.

“Our PTA parent, Christine Cribb, contacted Island Cleaners & Laundry with the intention to call other businesses,” said Associate Principal Raenette Wood who oversees the ninth grade island system. “However, Christine Westman was quick to offer her services for all of our coats.”

According to Westman, cleaning the coats was something that she had wanted to do for a long time.

“It was something that I was very thrilled to do because there’s so much that I have wanted to do for the community,” said Westman. “For all the homeless, or low-income-whoever has the need- I’ve always wanted to do something but never had the money to do these things, so this is what God kind of put in my lap. [He]  just sent me all these coats that I could do. It’s my way of giving back to the community.”

Westman said that she recieved a variety of coats, ranging from minors’ coats, thin hoodies, infant, and little toddler stuff, to coats for the elderly and long dress coats. Six of her dry-cleaning bins were full, and cleaning them all came to be very expensive.

“I had washers, dryers, and dry cleaning machines going from Friday at five-thirty in the morning, until six-o-clock that evening,” said Westman. “It was about $2800-3000 just in the coats alone, not including the water, electricity, gas and the chemicals-the soaps and stuff like that.”

The coats were delivered to Westman on the 24th. She had all of her personal business finished by Thursday, and, together with her daughter,  managed to clean three-fourths of them before Friday. The remaining fourth were finished by Monday.

“I didn’t have anything else to do that day,” saidWestman. “My daughter and I worked on the OHHS coat drive all day long. That was our priority. Rae and her husband came and picked them up at about six-o-clock on Friday. They went back to the high school as far as I know. They had two vehicles totally loaded with coats.”

According to Wood, the coat drive was quite successful. The school has also, already talked to Westman about cleaning coats for the drive scheduled for next year.

“It was a lot, but you know, I will do it again in a heartbeat,” said Westman. “I’ve already talked to somebody, I told them if I’m still around, kicking and alive next year, I would really like to do it again…You guys can count on me.”

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