Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday season brings out the generosity of Bronx residents

Here's a story from last week's Bronx Press.

By Miawling Lam

Diaz (c.) and Rivera (r.) joined NY Cares and Health Plus to kick off the
2011 "Keep the Bronx Warm Month" annual coat drive.
Riverdale residents have been urged to dig deep, rummage through their closets and donate their spare winter coats to help those in need.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined State Senator Gustavo Rivera at the 50th Precinct in Kingsbridge last Wednesday to launch the annual ‘Keep The Bronx Warm Month’ coat drive.

Under the initiative, now in its 23rd year, lightly used coats are collected and distributed to seniors, low-income families and the homeless throughout the city during the bitter winter. 

The 5-0 was chosen as the launch location because it was the largest collection site in the Bronx in 2010. 

Armed with two bags full of coats, Diaz said more than 1.4 million coats have been handed out since the program’s inception. 

“We know that in times of need, Bronxites always step up to the plate,” he said.

Jump below for the full story.

“I’m calling upon community leaders, community organizations and activists to step up to the plate because, no matter what, while we see a lot of materialism and commercialization, this holiday season has more to do about giving than anything else.” 

Individuals can drop off coats at 32 locations in the borough, including the Bronx County Courthouse, located at 851 Grand Concourse, local police precincts and other public locations.

Donations are being accepted from now to December 31, with officials hoping to collect 100,000 coats throughout the five boroughs. There is also an acute need for kids and large men’s coats. 

New York Cares Senior Director of Programs Meghan Moloney said officials were intensifying their collection efforts to avoid a repeat of last year’s downturn in donations.

Moloney said 12,000 fewer coats were donated last year compared to the yearly average, leaving 10,000 children without a warm coat. 

“There are families throughout the Bronx and all of New York City who are making very difficult choices this year between buying a coat that will keep their family members warm or putting food on their table or paying their bills,” she said. 

“If Bronxites come together to clean out their closet and give any coats they can, a lot of families will have to make one less hard choice this winter. It’s a very simple act.” 

State Senator Gustavo Rivera said police precincts played a critical role in the collection process, accounting for 48 percent of all coats collected last year.

Diaz and Rivera throw coats into the bin outside the 50th Precinct.
Commanding Officer Captain Kevin Burke said residents within the 50th Precinct’s boundaries were always generous and hoped the command would defend their title.
“We were number one last year and we anticipate being number one this year,” he said. 

“Our goal is to turn you away and say we have enough. It didn’t happen last year but we hope it happens this year.” 

A complete list of public coat collection sites can be found at newyorkcares.org.

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