Food Service & Agriculture and Retail

Restaurant company donates coats to 1,300 children

January 1, 2019
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Todd TJ Duckett student Sibley Elementary
Todd "T.J." Duckett talks with a student at Sibley Elementary in Grand Rapids. Courtesy Meritage Hospitality Group

A local restaurant company has donated winter apparel to 1,300 children.

Grand Rapids-based Meritage Hospitality Group — which operates Wendy’s franchises in 16 states — said last month it collected coats, hats and gloves for 1,300 children in the Midwest from community members through its annual Coats for Combos drive in early November.

Coats were collected at Wendy’s locations throughout West Michigan, Detroit, northern Michigan, Toledo and Indiana and through its partners, West Michigan Spartans and Duckett Enterprises.

Wendy’s also hosted school rallies at Sibley Elementary in Grand Rapids and Comstock Green Meadows Elementary in Kalamazoo during the drive. Former NFL player and MSU alum, Todd “T.J.” Duckett, spoke to students about the importance of community and giving back. The rallies included coat donations, giveaways from Wendy’s and an appearance from MSU’s mascot, “Sparty.”

“The spirit of giving and philanthropy is a direct reflection of the culture that we’ve built here at Wendy’s,” said Mike Baldwin, director of operations, north, Meritage Hospitality Group. “We want to thank our communities that stepped up this year to support this great program — they’re the reason why 1,300 children will stay warm this winter season.”

Since Coats for Combos launched in 2013, the partners have donated more than 4,000 coats to children in the communities where they were collected. The drive yielded 1,287 donations in 2017.

Coats, hats and gloves were donated to the following West Michigan schools and organizations:

Sibley Elementary, Grand Rapids

Comstock Green Meadows Elementary, Kalamazoo

Glenside Childhood Center, Muskegon

Holland Rescue Mission, Holland

Goodwill, Newaygo

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