Grateful families wait for hours to get coats, toys in Queens

Coat drive

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Families lined up in Queens Saturday to receive new jackets and toys as New York Cares marked its 32nd annual coat drive after what has been a devastating year for the community.

Family members, some with blankets wrapped around them, waited outside the office of Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz in Corona on Saturday for the new coats and toys.

“When you have a community that choose between rent and buying food, jackets and toys for the children are often last. So if we can help meet that need, why not do it?” Cruz said.

Coat drive

Cruz, along with the organizations Together We Can and New York Cares, received a shipment of another 1,000 jackets Saturday to be donated. While the wait was long, volunteers were fast at work to deliver for Queens families.

Evelyn, 18, was waiting in line with her sisters, niece and nephews.

“This is the way we get gifts. And this is the way that we feel happy and complete,” she said. “This is really helping us.”

Juan, 11, said he was grateful to be getting a new jacket and toy this year.

“In this pandemic we have many troubles with the jobs, and our family, they are not working because they do not have jobs now,” he said.

Coat drive

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards helped give out toys and said recipients had shown nothing but gratitude.

“Help is on the way,” Richard said. “We are fighting to make sure that help is on the way. During your darkest time, please know that there is sunlight at the end of this tunnel.”

New York Cares so far has more than 60,000 jackets to donate this year. Its goal is to reach over 100,000.

Coat drive

“Imagine what it would be like to be outside for two hours today wearing a fall jacket or a spring jacket. It would be untenable. There are people that need to get to work,” said New York Cares Executive Director Gary Bagley.

Cruz looks to hold another coat drive next week.