Photo by Jack Yu
By Jack Yu
The Stony Brook’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) held a Coat Drive in the SAC lobby last week.
USG President Cole Lee and USG Senator Millie Muleri came up with the idea of a coat drive to help local children in need.
Approximately 43.1 million people in the United States were under the property line in 2015, according to the U.S. Census. The majority of these people are struggling to purchase necessities to keep them warm during the winter.
“Nowadays, people just take things for granted and ignore the fact that there are people who need material help so urgently,” KiKi Tsirakidis, a senior student at SBU and Lee’s executive assistant, said. “We want to encourage students to donate their clothes that they don’t wear anymore and help out those children.”
Lee, who is in his second year as USG president, encouraged students to donate clothes that they don’t wear anymore and help out children or families who are in need of warm clothing.
“This issue does not discriminate. Regardless of your race, gender, religion, or wealth and whether or not you are a senior citizen, a young child, or homeless, the need for warmth is crucial for anyone’s health and well-being,” Lee said. “That coat you barely wore but have sitting in the back of your closet could make a huge difference in someone’s life. So just being able to help keep someone warm I think will be extremely beneficial.”
Around six to eight USG members contributed their time to make sure there was always a face at the drop off station.
“We need to realize that there are a lot of people who are less fortunate than us and we should be mindful of that, no matter in what kind of situation,” Tsirakidis said.
By Thursday, the Coat Drive had collected more than 70 articles of clothing and 200 pairs of shoes, which were donated by former shoe store owner, Duane Silvera.
“Thanks to Mr. Duane Silvera, now we know that people will have a fresh pair of new shoes to put over their feet to keep them warm,” Lee said.
Senator Muleri designated New York Cares as the collaborating charity to help children in need of clothing to live through the winter. At the same time, USG also works with the Dean of Students Office at SBU to see if there is a possibility that the school’s officials could help assess the need and the best location on campus for the Coat Drive.
The most challenging part of the donation is determining where the donations go to, Lee said.
“I mean how can I choose to give or prioritize those are are more in need than another? How can I decide if a child in Long Island living in poverty is more in need of clothing than a senior citizen who can’t afford to make ends meet over in Staten Island?” he said. “So many people could benefit and I want to help them all but unfortunately we can’t help everyone. That’s the most challenging part.”
Another challenging processes of this donation is raising awareness for the Coat Drive, Tsirakidis said.
The huge population of the student body makes reaching to everyone on campus and making them aware of the donation extremely hard. However, by the number of donations, the Stony Brook community was able to come together and show that they care, in term of warmness and gratefulness, from student body to the society.