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Photos courtesy Mati Gonzalez
Photos courtesy Mati Gonzalez
Gabriel Gonzalez helped collect 223 coats to donate to the needy through NY Cares.

The Middle Village student who helped set up a coat drive which collected over 200 coats for New York Cares got a special treat last week, as the nonprofit organization invited him to tour their facility.

Back in December, Gabriel Gonzalez, a third-grader at P.S./I.S. 87, asked his mother if they could buy an extra coat for him to donate to someone in need. This spark of generosity ignited a fire in Gonzalez as he got both his school and taekwondo studio to participate and host coat drives.

In all, 223 coats were collected and donated to NY Cares.

“I’m happy to know that I was able to save 223 people from the cold,” Gonzalez said. “I only thought we would get five coats and we got 223. I’m so glad.”

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As a way to show the youngster where all the coats he helped collect were going, NY Cares gave Gonzalez a tour of their warehouse in Manhattan where they sort and keep all the coats.

“The tour was cool. I got to see where the coats go and I helped volunteers sort and pack coats,” Gonzalez said. “I had to pack five infant coats in a bag and then take them to where all the baby coats were and there were just so many coats everywhere. We had baby coats too so we got to help babies stay warm in the cold.”

“On behalf of New York Cares and the hundreds of New Yorkers in need who will be warmer this winter, I would like to thank Gabriel for his incredible compassion and generosity,” said Danielle Gilbert, service events officer at New York Cares. “It’s inspiring to see a young person put others first like Gabriel has. The need in NYC is enormous, and we all need to follow Gabriel’s example to make the city a better place for all of our neighbors.”

Gonzalez even helped sort out some of the coats he helped collect.

“When Gabe’s mom reached out to us about this phenomenal thing Gabe did on behalf of us we invited him out to tour the warehouse,” Gilbert added. “Gabe and his whole family helped dropped off Gabe’s 223 coats. We brought them down into the warehouse and he got to sort a few coats. What he has done is phenomenal. He’s only 8 years old and he has met a need and it started with him shopping with his mom. I think if we had a city full of Gabes everyone who is in need of a coat would have one.”

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