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Coat Drive Receives Record Donations

by | Nov 13, 2023 | In the News

Left to right: Paul Sweeney’s daughter Amanda Sweeney, Robert Ruffner (Passumpsic Savings Bank), Tina Smith (Community National Bank), Renee Jenks (Community National Bank), Michelle Fenoff (Passumpsic Savings Bank), Becky Emerson (Passumpsic Savings Bank), Mary Cote (Passumpsic Savings Bank), Phyllis Sweeney, Joyce Schartner, Cynthia Waldner (NVRH), Chelsea Waldner, and Kathy Zita (Passumpsic Savings Bank).

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (November 13, 2023) – This year the annual Paul Sweeney Memorial Coat Drive, which was held at the Good Shepherd Catholic School on Saturday, November 4, was so successful that volunteers were unable to count just how many coats found new homes. Volunteers guesstimated that this was the largest collection and distribution to date, far exceeding last year’s 665 coats; 176 hats, gloves, and scarves; 17 pairs of boots; and 20 blankets.

Paul Sweeney had a 27-year career with Central Vermont Public Service Corporation (CVPS). As Senior Energy Use Advisor, his duties included home visits where he would suggest ways to make homes more energy efficient. In November 2003, Rev. Jay Sprout and Paul Sweeney organized the first coat drive in memory of Sandy Broughton, a woman who organized previous coat drives and passed away that year from cancer. Coats were collected and distributed (with the help of the Salvation Army) to people in need in the Northeast Kingdom. Two months later, Paul Sweeney passed away at the age of 50. The following year the coat drive was renamed in his honor.

Daughter, Amanda Sweeney and her mother, Phyllis continue to support the coat drive in Paul’s memory.

For community members who could not make it to the coat drive, Northeast Kingdom Community Action (NEKCA) will have the remaining items available for any individuals looking to add some warm clothing to their winter collection. Visit them at