Driver Trainer Steers a Successful Donation Campaign

Driver Trainer Steers a Successful Donation Campaign

Tom Frieders' efforts are behind a Coats for Kids donation

| By: Daley-Hinkens, Carmelyn M

More than four hundred local children and adults will be bundled up just a bit more this winter thanks to the efforts of Tom Frieders.

“This started out about as grassroots as you can get.”

Tom, a driver trainer in the FVTC Truck Driving program, is referring to the evolution of a project he started in 2016, aimed at collecting warm weather items for others. The idea came after a moment of reflection with his partner Sherry Wittman.

“Sherry and I were having a discussion, and although life has its ups and downs, we lead a rather blessed life,” Tom explains. “And we wondered how could more be done.”

That wonder turned into the first year of Tom and Sherry’s effort to collect donations for Coats for Kids, a community campaign through WBAY-TV, Woodward radio stations and its many partners. That year they raised enough money to purchase and donate 36 new coats. Over the next seven years, the donation drive grew with more people joining the effort. This year 438 new coats were recently loaded up onto a truck at the J.J. Keller Transportation Center on the FVTC campus and driven to one of the collection sites.

“By reaching out to more people, we found ourselves growing the project each year,” Tom says. “We have much support from the community of Freedom, plus family, friends and the FVTC community. Many of which are one in the same. We just want to keep others warm.”

WBAY-TV recently reported on Tom's donation effort >> Freedom group collects 438 coats for Coats for Kids