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'Little' Salvation Army benefits needy in Valley

| Monday, Feb. 25, 2002

The owners of Kay's Cleaning Co. have given the Mon Valley a fresh feeling for 62 years, and now it is extending its service in an effort to warm hearts.

The company operates facilities in Charleroi and Donora.

Business owner Rose Villella said the cleaning company has served as a midway station for clothes donated to the Salvation Army.

Villella said she has worked at the Donora facility for 30 years.

Customers and people who want to get rid of clothing or donate garments to the less fortunate have long delivered such items to Kay's Cleaning, she said.

The cleaning concern then either donates the items to the Salvation Army or finds customers that could use an extra coat or pair of pants.

"I've had people bring stuff in here and they'll say do whatever (with it)," Villella said.

Villella said she has given donated clothing to people and has only charged them the cost of cleaning it.

Her son, Joseph Villella, said he decided to offer a 25 percent discount on cleaning bills for customers that donate clothing at the Kay's Cleaning facilities.

Joseph Villella says he views the practice as being a public service.

"We're more than happy to give back to the community because we've been there for so darn long," Joseph Villella said. "We just started implementing this program recently.

"If needed, we're always volunteering to so stuff like that."

Joseph Villella said he might take over the family business soon, and noted he would continue to promote it as a donation center.

Salvation Army donations sometimes are turned away because the the clothing is in poor condition, Joseph Villella said.

In some cases, all the garments need is professional attention.

"Sometimes people bring things in that are so mangled ... next thing you know, we can make something new out of it," he said.

Rose Villella said she has been supplying the Salvation Army in Donora with personal contributions for years.

She said her son's idea to provide cleaning discounts as incentive for customer donations would help continue her tradition.

"I've been a little Salvation Army many years," the businesswoman said.

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