Three Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) departments are collecting coats, canned food and toys as part of the College's annual efforts to make the holidays a little brighter for less fortunate New Yorkers.
"We do this because it gives our students a chance to be part of a bigger cause and further develop a sense of civic responsibility," said Victoria Apostal-Marius, Program Coordinator at the BMCC Women's Resource Center, where the coat drive—one of three collection efforts—is being staged.
Helping others keep warm in winter
Last year, with the help of caring New Yorkers, including many BMCC students, New York Cares distributed 109,000 winter coats to families that might otherwise have faced a cold winter without them.
"We understand the harsh realities of a cold winter in New York City," said Apostal-Marius. "Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to donate new or gently used coats Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Women's Resource Center, Room S-340 at 199 Chambers Street."
The coat drive ends December 20.
Feeding the Hungry
It's not just the cold weather that takes a toll on the less fortunate—hunger in New York City is more common than many realize. An estimated 1.4 million New York City residents rely on emergency food programs such as those provided by the Food Bank for New York City, a nonprofit organization that supplies as many as 63 million free meals a year to New Yorkers in need.
BMCC students are encouraged to do their part this holiday season and drop off canned food and non-perishable food items at the Office of Academic Advisement and Transfer Center in Room S-108 at 199 Chambers Street.
This year's food drive will be open through December 15 at 2 p.m.
Last year, BMCC students collected almost 500 cans of food and non-perishables such as pasta. The food was delivered to a Food Bank for New York drop-off site at the New York City Fire Department on Duane Street in Tribeca.
Bringing joy to a disadvantaged child
Each year, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys in the three months leading up to the holidays. A primary goal of the program is to deliver a message of hope to disadvantaged children.
BMCC's Veterans Resource Center has joined those efforts and is heading up a large drive to collect toys until December 19.
BMCC students are encouraged to drop off toys in one of four locations: The Veterans Reource Center, Room S-115; the Student Government Association Office, Room S-242; the Office of the Registrar, Room S-315 or the Nursing Deparment, Room S-730.
As Liberal Arts major Rodin Peguero, a veteran of the U.S. Navy explained, a portion of the goal behind Toys for Tots is to unite local communities in this common cause.
"When you see all the toys and imagine a child playing with them, that's very fulfilling," said Peguero.