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As temperatures stay frigid, Queens councilman hosts kids coat drive

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

As New Yorkers experience subzero temperatures this winter, one councilman decided to help keep some of Queens’ most vulnerable warm.

“Being able to give to our young people is great,” said Councilman I. Daneek Miller. “They’re what make our community great. This is a small part of what we try to do for the community but it is necessary that we do it.”

Miller hosted an event in partnership with the Parks Department and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, the organization that supplied brand-new coats for children in his district. He held the event on Wednesday at the Detective Keith L. Williams Field House in Jamaica, which was happily made available by Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, for a special reason.

“We had a toy drive here in December and I noticed so many of our young people didn’t have the proper attire on to keep them warm,” Miller said. “So, when the fire department reached out to me and asked if I knew of people in need, I couldn’t think of a better place to go.”

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This is the first year that the UFOA Local 854 is doing the coat drive and coined the name “Operation Warm, more than a coat.”

This was the fourth place they donated coats in the city, all of which are brand-new, brightly colored and warm, Lewandowski said. The association bought over 50 coats to the drive in hopes of keeping children warm until the winter chill blows over.

“We’re a labor organization always looking to help out,” said Derek Harken, a member of the UFOA. “All the coats are made in America, we purchase them and then go to communities where we can help the people out with them.”

Lewandowski commended the organization for their work, especially for helping out those children that may be experiencing some economic hardship.

“These are incredibly good students that participated in this event,” she said. “These coats are not only colorful but extremely warm and the children will benefit from this wonderful operation.”

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