‘TIS THE SEASON: More than halfway to its goal of collecting 125,000 donated coats, this year’s annual New York Cares Coat Drive has less than a week to go.
New Yorkers can drop off coats at multiple locations including the group’s West 31st Street warehouse, any New York Police Department precinct, all Queens library branches and Grand Central Terminal or Penn Station through Dec. 31. Those who don’t have jackets to give can text “coat” to 41444 to donate money that will be used by the nonprofit to buy and deliver coats. The city has at least 1.7 million people living below the poverty line including 60,000 who are without permanent housing, according to a New York Cares spokeswoman.
The group has collected and donated 1.8 million coats to New Yorkers in need over the past 29 years. This year’s requests from shelters, social service agencies and schools is an increase compared to last year’s tally of 109,000 coats.
Another local group, The Fashion Foundation, recently wrapped up another charitable initiative. Founder Amanda Munz helped to brighten the holidays for 100 students in three different Brooklyn schools by arranging for each of them to receive a complementary gift-laden backpack. Rebecca Minkoff and Calvin Klein are among the companies that have supported the foundation through the years.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Munz said she started the nonprofit after five years of interning for a major swimwear company and “constantly seeing brands throwing things in the garbage.” By having companies donate their excess samples to her foundation, Munz wanted to “fund a greater good providing kids with school supplies all year-round.”
This holiday season several schools the organization deals with reached out to her because many children weren’t just in need of school supplies but also something as simple as a scarf, hat or gloves. She was also told that many kids, who live in shelters, weren’t getting holiday gifts. So the Fashion Foundation organized a holiday event earlier this month where 60 guests customized backpacks based on the handwritten requests by students. The product was purchased from attendees’ $25 tickets and donations from other supporters.
“In the showrooms and in corporate office, there would be samples lying around that we did not know what to do with. Sometimes we were physically throwing them into the dumpster. Other times they were physically piling up until they wound up in the dumpster,” she said.