New York Cares Kicks Off 31st Annual Coat Drive

Marla Diamond
November 13, 2019 - 1:42 pm
New York Cares Coat Drive

Marla Diamond/WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — On this unusually cold November day, New Yorkers are being reminded to donate gently-used winter coats for the less fortunate.  

Brahima Kone, 11, was the first to receive a donated coat at the 31st annual New York Cares Coat Drive Kickoff on the Lower East Side and he was very grateful. 

"I think it helps people who don't have coats to save money and stuff. Let's say you need money for food and stuff. If you need to use your money to get coats for your children, you're not gonna have the money to feed them correctly," he said. 

Dozens of donated coats in every color hung neatly on racks in the lunchroom at P.S. 188 The Island School, where nearly half of the students do not have permanent housing.

Kone was drawn to a stylish puffy gray coat with blue stripes.

"I do have coats but all my other coats are small and this one fits me perfectly. That's why I like it a lot," he said.

Lorena Cruz, 11, chose a pink coat with a fleece lining she knew her mom would love.

"It's helpful because my family we don't have a good house, so right now we're in the middle, and my mom couldn't buy a coat for me so if I go home with this she'll be very happy," she said.

Principal Suany Ramos said the coat drive makes a big difference.

"Just look at the faces of our babies and our families. They were here since 7:30 and some of the children that you saw there didn't come to school with a coat," Ramos said. 

Gary Bagley, the president of New York Cares, says the demand for warm coats increases every year.

"We have requests for over 150,000 coats right now. Last year we collected 105,000 coats, which was our best year ever.

The police precincts play a big role in the annual drive, and Police Commissioner James O'Neill was on hand for the kickoff.

"Obviously we're open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We never close. If you have a coat and you want to contribute just come to one of the precincts, drop it off, it'll be greatly appreciated," O'Neill said.

The collection begins Wednesday and ends Dec. 31.

If you don't have a coat to give, you can make a donation to New York Cares, which says just $20 will buy one new coat for a New Yorker in need.