New Yorkers to Remember The Needy This Holiday Season
By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Glittering storefronts… annual parties and traditional concerts… inspiring services in our houses of worship: For all these reasons and more, there is simply no time like the holidays in New York. With the city’s economy getting stronger by the day, many New Yorkers are feeling aglow with good spirits. And that’s all the more reason for us to remember our obligation to look out for our less fortunate neighbors, especially during what can be a harsh time of the year. This morning, I want to point out two very important ways we can do that: the “Readers Care Food Drive” and the “New York Cares Coat Drive.” Both of these important annual campaigns give us all a chance to show that it really is better to give than to receive.
All year long, City Harvest, a non-profit organization, does a tremendous job of providing food to New York’s soup kitchens, emergency food pantries, and other facilities that serve New Yorkers in need. The Mayor’s Voluntary Action Center strongly supports its work. And for 21 years, New Yorkers have helped City Harvest during the holiday season by donating non-perishable foods during the “Readers Care Food Drive,” which is backed by the Daily News and Modell’s sporting goods stores.
As in years past, New York’s Bravest and Finest are taking part; call 3-1-1 to find the nearest police station or fire house where you can make donations to this worthy campaign. Last year, New Yorkers donated more than 432,000 pounds of food to the “Readers Care” effort. Let’s all see if we can’t give even more this year.
Last Monday also marked the beginning of the 16th annual “New York Cares Coat Drive.” I went to the Bowery Mission on the Lower East Side to help kick it off. Since 1989, New York Cares has provided nearly 600,000 coats to New Yorkers who lack adequate winter wear. This year, its goal is to collect and distribute 70,000 coats by New Year’s Eve. Most of us have jackets and coats that are still in good shape, but that we and our family members just don’t wear anymore. From now through the end of the year, we can drop them off at sites throughout the city, including any NYPD facility in the five boroughs. Again, call 3-1-1 to find out the location of the most convenient precinct station.
In the classic
story A Christmas Carol, one of the characters describes this as
a time of year “When abundance rejoices—and when want is felt
most keenly.” Those words are just as true today as when Charles Dickens
wrote them nearly 140 years ago. The “Readers Care Food Drive”
and the “New York Cares Coat Drive” are as much a part of this
happy season as the Thanksgiving Day Parade or last Tuesday’s lighting
of the tree at Rockefeller Center. They give us a chance to make a vital difference
in the lives of our neighbors in need, and to show the generous and compassionate
heart of New York.