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Natural Awakenings NYC & Long Island

New York Cares Coat Drive Targets Cold, Hunger and More

The New York Cares Coat Drive, one of New York City’s largest philanthropic traditions, is preparing for its 33rd year and second winter in a pandemic. This year, organizers say, a $25 donation will provide a New Yorker with a warm coat plus 10 meals—and so much more. 

“Warmth has many layers,” says Erica Lockwood, director of marketing and communications for New York Cares. “Warmth means feeling protection from the cold, having access to a hot meal when you’re hungry, being treated with dignity. Warmth means so much more than a coat.”

For more than 32 years, this tradition has helped more than 2 million New Yorkers receive warm winter coats and provided a way for neighbors to meaningfully each other through the harshest time of the year, she says. New York Cares also addresses other essential needs, such as hunger and social isolation. In 2020, New York Cares volunteers delivered more than 44 million meals—ten times more than the previous year—to individuals experiencing food insecurity.

“There always has been a need for coats in our community. This is something that comes up every year during the winter months,” says Deanna Sorge, volunteer coordinator for Henry St. Settlement. “Sometimes people don’t have the resources to go out and buy a coat. This isn’t just about our clients, it’s about our whole community in general.” 

Brandon Boodhoo of the River Fund, which fights hunger and poverty in New York City, notes that many people his organization serves “don’t have coats, they have a T-shirt or a blanket. They might not even have shoes. We are receiving 2,000 coats, and we serve 3,000 families. This will help put coats on the backs of so many of these clients.” 

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