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Natural Awakenings NYC & Long Island

New York Cares Coat Drive Launches Early

With New York City’s homelessness and unemployment as high as they’ve been since the Great Depression, the New York Cares Coat Drive—one of the city’s largest and most cherished charitable winter traditions— has taken on special significance this year. In fact, New York Cares has launched its 2020 drive early, to get coats distributed as quickly as possible to nonprofits, schools, and communities most impacted by COVID-19.

Every $20 donation to the drive buys a new coat for a New Yorker in need. The goal is to ensure that no one has to skip a meal to buy a winter coat, no parent is forced to choose between buying school supplies and staying warm, and no essential worker has to commute without a warm coat on their back. The program has distributed more than 2 million coats over the past 31 years.

“I’ve always donated,” says one program volunteer. “I was raised on donations. Thrift stores carried my family through tough times. I’m not rich, but I’m happy. And if I can make someone else happy then I’m coming full circle.”  

The need for basic assistance in New York has been dire since spring. Between March and April 2020, the unemployment rate in the city more than tripled, from 4.1 percent to 14.2. The number of public assistance recipients in the city rose nearly 16 percent between February and June, and the number of residents enrolled in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increased by 12.5 percent during that period. 

To contribute or more information, visit

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