A New York City-based nonprofit is taking the season of giving to heart by helping hundreds of children stay warm this winter.
The Hearts of Gold organization will distribute 550 winter coats and other goodies on Saturday as part of an event to help families in need.
Deborah Koenigsberger, the founder and CEO of Hearts of Gold, said she was inspired to start the coat drive several years ago when she was visiting a homeless shelter and found out that many of the young children were kept out of school that day because they didn’t have a warm winter jacket to travel in.
“They would have to miss school because they didn’t have a winter coat. How is that possible?” she said. “I knew we at Hearts of Gold had to change that and so the Coats for Christmas event began.”
Since then, the organization has gifted over 18,000 coats to children in need. Koenigsberger and her staff have been working like Santa’s elves to make this year’s party as special as possible, with MetroCards for the mothers, movie tickets, a breakfast bag and other surprises planned.
“Something as simple as a warm winter coat is taken for granted,” Koenigsberger added. “Many of us are guilty of having multiple coats in our closet while others have none. I am trying to change that.”
The event is being hosted at The Thrifty HoG – an acronym for Hearts of Gold and another way that Koenigsberger helps families in need. The shop provides job training for struggling mothers and all proceeds benefit homeless families.
Since its launch in 1994, Hearts of Gold has guided more than 28,000 mothers and children as they transitioned from the city’s homeless shelter system into permanent housing.
Koenigsberger and her staff work to tackle the root causes of homelessness, including joblessness, disintegration of extended families, domestic violence and a lack of education or basic life skills, through partnerships with city shelters.