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Grosse Pointe South Seniors Give Back Through Annual 'Coats for CASS' Drive

After six years and 10,000 coats donated, these students are making a difference in the lives of many in Michigan.

It's a blustery, overcast Sunday morning—one that's ideal for teenagers to sleep in—and yet five South high school seniors are up and eager to talk about the philanthropy project they created six years ago, when they were just middle school students.

The "Coats for CASS" drive was born when George Fishback, Brad Kohut, Jeff Craig, Christian Mackey and David Wittwer were members of the National Junior Honor Society and they needed a community service project.

Fishback says it started out small but has grown beyond any of their wildest imaginations.

Now the five young men are seniors at Grosse Pointe South High School and estimate that they've gathered more than 10,000 coats for Michigan's needy families.  

The group said that over the last several years the drive has collected 1,500 - 2,000 coats per year and this year they are adding hats and gloves to their request.  All donations are tax deductible and a form for tax purposes is given to each donor.

"If feels good to give things that I've owned and no longer need to benefit someone else," Jeff Craig said.

The group blankets Grosse Pointes neighborhoods with fliers in early November, asking for used or new coats, gloves and hats.  Used items should be clean and serviceable and new items are always appreciated.  For homes that receive a flier, all items can be left in a bag on the front porch and the group will pick it up on Nov. 17, Fishback said.  

Didn't receive a flier and want to donate?  The group can be reached at 313-505-4488. Leave a message with the donation address and it will be picked up too. 

Items can also be dropped off at 850 Bishop Rd., Grosse Pointe Park.

On Nov. 17, from 9:30- 11:30 a.m., these seniors will be joined by members of South's student councils, National Honor Society and the Varsity Club to sort and prepare the donations for CASS Community Social Services, who will distribute the coats, hats and gloves to needy Michigan families.

Fishback said last year the line was out the door at CASS Community Social Services when the coats were delivered to those in need.

"Coats in Michigan can actually save someones life," Fishback said.

For more information on donation, contact George Fishback at 313 -505-4488.

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