By Bill Parry
Astoria’s elected officials collected nearly 100 winter coats donated by community members for families in need. The coats were dropped off at their offices as part of a holiday season coat drive and given to New York Cares for their 27th annual effort that gathers around 80,000 coats.
“Families in need can use our help this holiday season, particularly as the weather changes,” City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) said. “Warm clothing is a necessity for anyone living in the city during the winter. Many in this city lack access to a warm home or a coat to protect themselves from the cold. That’s why we coordinated this drive with New York Cares.”
Teamsters Local 814 as well as Globe Storage and Moving provided materials for collecting and transporting the lightly used winter coats. Toys that were also donated were wrapped and distributed to children by Urban Upbound.
“A warm coat can save a life and a toy can make an otherwise bleak holiday bright,” state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) said. “I am proud to join with my colleagues to help make winter a little better for New York’s most vulnerable.”
State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) thanked all of his constituents who donated to the cause. “The holiday season is a great time to give back and it is always important to remember those who may be less fortunate,” he said.
Constantinides worked further to help spread the spirit of giving this winter. Community members donated nonperishable food at his office that will be given to a food pantry in the community.
According to the New York City Coalition against Hunger, one in four children in New York lives in a household without sufficient food. Nearly 200,000 households throughout Queens are food insecure.
“Food and a new holiday gift will help our hungry and give children in need a smile during this holiday season,” Constantinides said. “I thank all who participated in helping brighten the holidays for our children for all the work they do to break cycles of poverty in our poorest neighborhoods. We appreciate all donations.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr