Batavia barber holds winter coat drive each year to help neighbors in need

Batavia barber holds winter coat drive each year to help neighbors in need

  • Craig Foltos, owner of Foltos Tonsorial Parlor in Batavia, collects clothing for the needy and donates them to local families or takes them to the Clothes Closet in Batavia for distribution.

      Craig Foltos, owner of Foltos Tonsorial Parlor in Batavia, collects clothing for the needy and donates them to local families or takes them to the Clothes Closet in Batavia for distribution. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted11/21/2021 7:30 AM

Craig Foltos has had plenty of patrons sitting in his barber chairs at Foltos Tonsorial Parlor in downtown Batavia over the past several decades.

Currently, he doesn't mind if one of those chairs has a bunch of winter clothing piled on it -- because that's where he's keeping used and new clothing items he collects annually for those in need.

 

In fact, Foltos has held the winter clothing drives for so many years that donors generally know to bring him used clothing in good shape most any time of the year.

"There is a big need for people in the community, so we take new or used coats, or anything," Foltos said. So "anything" would include snow pants, hats, gloves, scarves and boots.

"We do it every year until it is not cold out, then we do it again when it gets cold out," Foltos noted.

"But, you know, in the spring and summer when people bring down clothes that are summer clothes, I find people who need help with summer clothes," he added. "For as much affluence as there is in the community, there is also a lot of hardships."

Those who need help tend to be reluctant to seek it, but Foltos keeps his ears open about those who can use some assistance. In the tradition of the small-town barber who everyone knows, Foltos talks to a lot of people and has a lot of contacts.

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"Sometimes I know people who need help, sometimes I take the clothes to the Clothes Closet (an extension of Batavia's Interfaith community food pantry)," Foltos said. "I just try to get the clothes into good homes where people will appreciate it."

Foltos Tonsorial Parlor also knows how to get the word out on social media -- and how to lure in a celebrity to help promote a cause.

On Facebook, Karly Bieritz posted a photo of Heaven, the rescue originally from a Batavia animal shelter that recently won the World's Cutest Rescue Contest through People Magazine.

Bieritz, who works at Foltos Tonsorial, showed Heaven draped in a winter jacket, flashing his now famous smile, as his family was making a donation to the cause.

Those interested in helping can drop off winter gear at Foltos Tonsorial Parlor, 7 E. Wilson St. in Batavia, until, as Foltos says, it is no longer cold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

We know that won't happen for several months at this point.

He's grand, marshal or not:

Steve Martin will be Grand Marshal of the Electric Christmas Parade in St. Charles.
Steve Martin will be Grand Marshal of the Electric Christmas Parade in St. Charles.

Knowing my friend Steve Martin the way I do, it seems pretty safe to say the last thing this former banker and longtime St. Charles advocate extraordinaire had on his mind when volunteering to organize the city's holiday parade the past several years was to actually become the focus of that parade.

But, here we are, with one of the most worthy Grand Marshal choices one could ever hope for. Steve Martin will serve that role for the city's Electric Christmas Parade at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27.

This wonderful holiday event has been made possible by hundreds of organizers and helpers over the years, and thousands of parade participants and hundreds of thousands of exuberant parade watchers lining Main Street.

Martin has had his fingerprints all over this event in terms of helping organize the parade flow, as well as advising other volunteers on what to do and when during one of the busier nights the city engages in all year. It should be noted he does the same thing for the city's Memorial Day parade.

Given his love of the Beatles and Portillo's, my first thought was that Portillo's was sponsoring the holiday parade, or the event was somehow going to have a Beatles theme.

Martin is also easily enamored with the number 9, surely playing off the Beatles' "Revolution 9" song, but that's another whole story. Still, he's likely trying to figure out how 9 will play a role in the parade, like maybe his float will start its path on the route at 5:39 p.m. Yes, he's that engrossed in the number.

It's been fun to celebrate with the various grand marshals over the years, including in 2016 when TV stars Donnie Wahlberg and wife Jenny McCarthy took on that role as we welcomed them as new St. Charles residents.

But this might be the only time that a guy helping to organize the parade actually takes his bow by jumping on the Grand Marshal's float to some well-deserved applause.

Wet Nose on the move:

Shoppers looking for pet food, supplies and toys at Wet Nose in the Geneva Commons will soon have a different location in which to roam around.

A new Wet Nose store has been under construction on the west side of the Commons property in a location that formerly housed Charming Charlie's accessories. It's next to the empty storefront that once housed The Walking Company shoe store.

Though still operating out of the current location a little farther east at 1510 Commons Drive at the time of this writing earlier this week, the Geneva Commons office informed me the plan for the new Wet Nose is to have a grand opening on Black Friday, with a soft opening prior to that.

But it all depends on construction schedules and timetables for completion. So, keep an eye on that when driving through Geneva Commons. I will say this: Wet Nose stands out nicely at its new location.

Market must go on:

The winter doesn't shut down farmers market activity in Batavia, as downtown organization Batavia MainStreet tells us the Indoor Market season operates from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays now through May.

Indoor Market is held at 160 First St. in Batavia, featuring about 25 vendors each week selling what you'd want at a marketplace -- locally grown produce, farm-raised meats, eggs, fresh baked goods, honey, homemade soaps and numerous other items.

Metronet sponsors the market, while Batavia Enterprises serves as host. Shoppers using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Pandemic EBT benefits can use those to purchase approved food items at the market.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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