One young student at a Middle Village elementary school truly exemplifies the spirit of the holidays, as he set up a coat drive at his school to help the needy.
Gabriel Gonzalez, a third-grader at P.S./I.S. 87, was so inspired by the holiday season that he wanted to give back in his very own way.
While out coat shopping with his family, Gonzalez approached his mother, Mati, with a novel idea: he asked if she could purchase an extra coat so he could donate it to an organization that gives it to New Yorkers in need of a warm coat during the winter. Gonzalez’s mother agreed, but the student wasn’t satisfied.
Gonzalez wanted to keep giving and to get his fellow classmates involved, so his mother approached the administrators at P.S./I.S. 87 to see if they could help. Thanks to Gonzalez and his giving spirit, the school is currently hosting a coat drive.
“Gabriel is an exceptional boy. I was his kindergarten teacher. In my classroom and in our school we have always tried to teach our students about the power they have to change things for the better,” said Edith Svezia, a teacher at P.S./I.S. 87. “Even though they are young, they have participated in food drives, penny harvests, book drives, pull tab collections to help Ronald McDonald House, and wildlife adoptions. Gabriel has taken these lessons to heart as is evident in his wanting to organize this coat drive. As I said before, I couldn’t be prouder of his kindness and empathetic nature.”
Because of Gonzalez’s kindheartedness, the school has been collecting new and gently worn coats since Dec. 9. The coats are being donated to the New York Cares Coat Drive, and collections will continue until the drive ends on Monday, Dec. 26.
Gonzalez’s reach, however, goes beyond his school. He also set up a drop-off location for coats at the tae kwon do studio he visits in Middle Village.
So far, more than 100 coats have been collected and donated to New York Cares, all thanks to this one student who wanted to give back to those in need.
If anyone would like to donate a new or gently worn coat, P.S./I.S. 87 is accepting donations and is located at 67-54 80th St., and New Victory Tae Kwon Do is located at 73-03 Metropolitan Ave.
As Gonzalez says, “One coat changes one life.”