Coat drive turns into a warm holiday festival
By Beth Volpert Johansen

Rachel Finch, of Randy’s Nursery in Lawrenceville spends her days in what she readily describes as a stress-free zone right in the middle of town. When the business adopted Lawrenceville Elementary, they brought a little of Randy’s to the school by way of maintaining their ponds and encouraging students to visit the tropical haven for encounters with turtles and koi trained to eat from a baby bottle set among the flowers and trees. But the business’ outreach became far more involved once they learned that many children were in need of warm winter coats. 



Rachel Finch organized a simple coat drive last year to benefit Lawrenceville Elementary’s Hope Pantry, but the local business got a late start. I thought 45 days would be enough time,” says Rachel. “We collected 425 coats last year and we hope for more than 1000 this year.” Despite the short planning time last year, one of the most remarkable outcomes of Rachel’s work was the generosity of local businesses, especially several local barber and beauty salons. “The children who attended the event received gift cards for hair cuts,” says Rachel. “Many of the parents were able to enjoy a wash and dry at a salon too.” 

The Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree Festival is open to the public and is made possible by the hard work of volunteers and local business. Like many community efforts in and around Lawrenceville, the festival began as one person’s dream to help a child stay warm and has grown to include an entire community in need. “Lawrenceville Elementary School is so fortunate to have continued support from the community with donations of coats, school supplies and filling our bags of hope food pantry” says Principal Johnson. 

For more information visit: and plan to visit the Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree Festival on Dec 12th from 1-5.  And please consider cleaning out your closet or purchasing a new coat to donate to the coat drive boxes placed all around Lawrenceville.