New York Cares and Commonpoint Queens host coat drive in Little Neck

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Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

New York Cares hosted a coat distribution for its 32nd annual coat drive at Commonpoint Queens in Little Neck on Thursday, March 11. 

New York Cares volunteers and Heather McGreevy, the director of immediate needs and public spaces at New York Cares, distributed boxes with approximately 1,700 brand-new coats for infants, children, women and men to 15 Queens Community Partners.

Throughout the winter season, the organization has distributed 60,000 coats to New Yorkers in need, and New York Care, the largest volunteer organization in New York City, aims to raise funds for its annual coat drive through mid-March. 

Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Heather McGreevy explained that a coat is not a luxury but a necessity in New York City, especially now when many New Yorkers have to make difficult choices about meeting their basic needs because of COVID-19. 

“When you are looking at 20-degree weather, and somebody has to get back and forth to their job, when they have to drop off their child at school, or a senior that needs to get their groceries, having a coat means a lot,” McGreevy said.

Because of COVID-19, New York Cares couldn’t operate its regular coat drive and organized a virtual fundraiser, which raised close to $900,000, double of what the organization typically receives. 

“It’s so heartening and so wonderful. And what we were able to do is leverage wholesale purchasing power. So, $20 buys a new coat,” McGreevy said. “When you think about where your money goes and how to really have an impact, it’s an excellent example of investing in a nonprofit. We are really putting your money to good use.”

Jared Mintz, director of communications at Commonpoint Queens, was grateful for the partnership with New York Cares. Commonpoint Queens, a social services organization with locations in Forest Hills and Little Neck, has been working tirelessly during the pandemic to meet New Yorkers’ evolving needs, he said.

Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

“We’ve seen just such a great need all across our community for all kinds of supplies. I mean, especially food and hygiene products and clothing. And to be able to provide clean new coats, it’s just going to make a world of difference,” Mintz said.

Maria Carcafo picked up coats for a drive at Compassion Adventist located in Corona.  New York Cares staff and volunteers loaded her car with over 10 boxes of coats, and she shared that the need for basic necessities in her community is greater than ever because of the high unemployment. The organization also holds a food drive every Wednesday serving over 1,000 residents. Sometimes, residents have to be turned away because the organization runs out of food.

“It hurts when we see that we don’t have enough food as people are waiting in line waiting to be fed. It’s very hard; it’s very difficult,” Carcafo said.

Anne McGreevy has been a volunteer with New York Cares for over five years and thinks it’s more important than ever to lend a helping hand to New Yorkers who are faced with economic insecurity. She shared that her late husband and McGreevy always looked forward to the coat drive because they couldn’t imagine a child not having winter coat. This year, she participated in the virtual fundraiser and donated money for coats in her husband’s memory.

“The face of hunger is changing. Children still need coats. Families are still starving. So many people have lost their jobs. We have so much; we have so much to give.  What we can do is give our time. It doesn’t matter what you do. We owe it to humanity to do something. We are all so fortunate,” McGreevy said.

Since 1989, the New York Cares Coat Drive has collected over 2 million winter coats for men, women and children throughout the city. For more information on ways to help keep New Yorkers warm, click here.