CHATHAM — The Chatham 14 Theaters is offering a novel incentive to get movie-goers to donate to their winter coat drive: free popcorn.
For every new or "gently"' used coat donated during the theater's first annual winter coat drive, the theater will give away a voucher good for a large popcorn.
Venisha White-Johnson, director of operations for the Chatham 14 Theaters, said while the theater has done food drives in the past, the coat drive started after she saw so many kids coming to the movies in shoddy jackets.
"I see kids coming to the theater with coats too small, worn out and in some cases not suitable for cold weather," she said. "Times are hard for everyone, especially single mothers, so having a coat drive seemed more appropriate."
The donations are being accepted daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Dec. 20 at the theater at 210 W. 87th St. A voucher that can be redeemed anytime is given for every coat donated, and there is no limit to how many coats a person can donate.
Fifty coats have been collected since the drive started last week.
"If we collect 100 coats I would be happy considering this is our first coat drive," she said. "Next year the bar will be set higher since we plan on making this event an annual one."
All coats will be sent to the nonprofit Variety of Illinois, which will distribute them to needy families, White-Johnson said.
Last year, Love collected 800 toys for New York children affected by Hurricane Sandy. This year Love has set a goal of collecting 2,000 toys or gift cards to benefit children affected by tornadoes in Oklahoma, Denver and downstate Washington.
"We want to help this young man reach his goal by donating toys we receive through our drive," White-Johnson said. "And by us staying open late I figured more toys could be collected. Plus we have a parking lot to make it more easy for people who may need to make more than one trip to the car."