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As the weather turns colder, members of the College’s Social Work Student Association helped make sure it’s a little warmer for some of Newark’s homeless.
In less than a two week span in November, the students collected nearly 100 coats around campus. Most of the primarily men’s coats were then turned over to the Newark Emergency Services for Families (NESF) office for distribution. That facility is also where Zoya Haye, president of the association, is interning this semester.
Zoya said many of Newark’s homeless go to NESF daily for a meal and a hot shower. And, thanks to the students, a nice coat.
A few of the coats were donated to Essex students. “They went to several international students who are not acclimated to our weather changes,” Zoya said.
“Your heartfelt contribution will help these families who are in dire need of winter coats to keep warm from the harsh elements of winter storms,” wrote NESF Executive Director Diane Young in a letter to Mary Jenkins, coordinator of the College’s Social Work program. Ms. Young noted that there are more than 2,000 people in Essex County experiencing homelessness on any given night.
“A very special thanks to the students in the Social Work program. Words cannot express the deep gratitude we have for you,” added Ms. Young.
Zoya said club officers Vice President Anthony Martinez, Secretary Shari Raphael, Treasurer Rebecca Baptiste and Deputy Treasurer Petagay Collins “all worked extremely hard to make this effort possible along with other team members.”
“This is the first year the students have worked on such an ambitious project,” said Professor Jenkins. She added that the coat drive could become an annual event.
“We did collect more coats than we thought we would,” said Zoya. “The coats are in very good condition, with even a few brand new. We were all really motivated for this project.”