Every year, 63,000 New Yorkers battle the brutal chills of night in the winter, some of whom do not have the comforts we take for granted: a warm coat to wrap around our bodies and a sandwich to assuage the feeling of hunger in our stomachs. One of many organizations to help battle these statistics is New York Cares.
CUNY Queens College hosted our annual Coat Drive for New York Cares on Nov. 29th, 2018. Students were invited to bring their old or unused coats to the Rosenthal Library, anytime on that day from 9 am to 9 pm. This year, the event was hosted by Joel Grunhut and Mark Hans.
Alumni Joel Grunhut began his involvement with the Coat Drive in 2017, when he was inspired by an email he received from a charity called New York Cares that runs an annual coat drive every winter. Grunhut realized that there wasn’t an event like this on Queens College’s campus, so he registered the school and began a beautiful tradition.
Grunhut chose New York Cares in particular for their variety of resources, as well as their large size, for this particular purpose. He also added that they have a “very neat collection system where the coats are hand delivered to different parts of the city.”
What made this year’s event different from last year’s was the timing. This year the Coat Drive took place right around Thanksgiving – a time of giving. The pair spread the word as much as they could with every social media platform they had. Facebook events shared with everyone in their friend lists, Twitter accounts were updated with invites consistently, Instagram stories featured the flyer advertising the event and emails were sent out on blast.
Grunhut stated that they waited until after Thanksgiving instead of before because “…people had hopefully gone home, and were able to say, ‘Hey! Let’s give thanks for what we’ve got at the dinner table!’”
In the end they were able to receive about 80 coats for New York Cares. Grunhut said with confidence that they definitely met their goals for this year’s fundraiser, as he does everything he can to spread the message of charity and giving to the QC community.
New York Cares was founded in 1987 to help, according to their website, “many vulnerable New Yorkers, who are facing such obstacles as limited education, poor nutrition, low literacy, unemployment, and lack of basic needs.”
In 2017, 400,000 New Yorkers received some sort of aid from the charity. Volunteers and partners of the organization are spread across the five Boroughs, located in 1,350 schools and nonprofits. But, New York Cares does more than provide warmth. Volunteers perform acts ranging from as small as walking homeless animals or growing plants in revitalized greenhouses, to acts as big as providing career expertise to adults struggling to obtain jobs or holding SAT Prep for struggling students.
In fact, in 2017, 35 of these volunteers were inducted into the High Risers program; “a new recognition honoring volunteers who have completed a remarkable 1,000 volunteer projects during their tenure with New York Cares.” In addition, approximately 500 volunteers received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for committing at least 100 hours of their lives to serving their community, a record-breaking number for the foundation.