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Clothing Drive Exceeds New Canaan Boy's Goals

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Reed Schultz has always believed in the generosity of his New Canaan neighbors. But he never expected his call for winter coats would get such a big answer.

More than 500 articles of clothing were dropped off at the Outback Teen Center for distribution to needy families in New Canaan and elsewhere in Fairfield County as a result of his New Canaan Winter Clothing Drive. In addition to gently used coats and boots, residents donated sweatshirts, sweaters, T-shirts and gloves.

“Yeah, I’m extremely pleased. It exceeded my expectations greatly,” said Schultz, 16, a student at the Brunswick School in Greenwich. “Seventy-five was conservative, so 500 and over is great. I’m very pleased.”

Schultz was inspired to start the clothing drive, which concluded Jan. 23, after seeing a similar effort at Brunswick. The Schultz family had previously contributed to needy causes, and Reed wanted to do something helpful in his hometown. Schultz worked with the Outback Teen Center, the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce and the New Canaan Office of Human Services to get the word out. He and his father, Robert, created the posters that were seen all over town.

“It’s really incredible. We didn’t realize the turnout we’d get,” said Erin McDermott, program director at Outback. Even with an unusually mild winter, McDermott said the effort was successful because it was focused on New Canaan. “I think the need may go unnoticed (sometimes),” she said. “People took this and wanted to help their neighbors. I think it kind of brought it home that it was helping neighbors. I’m very happy with all this.”

Schultz hopes to spearhead another effort next winter, possibly expanding the collections to neighboring towns. “I’ll definitely try to do it again,” he said, crediting the residents of New Canaan for their generosity. “You have to be pleased with what the community provided. Whatever anyone gives is perfect.”

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