This past September, Chairperson Arthur Epstein began this year's campaign of Coats for Kids. The Neighborhood Cleaners Association sponsored this campaign. After they collected the coats, they were cleaned and distributed. More than 2,000 coats were collected during the holiday season and they were distributed to the needy children in our community. Recently, Assemblyman David G. McDonough announced that this campaign was an overwhelming success. It brought the five-year total to over 10,000 coats. Many contributions were received mainly due to the collection efforts of local schools and organizations. People of the community showed true holiday spirit with their cooperation in this drive.

It is great to see the efforts of a community going toward something that helps others. It seems like every day I read about tragedies and crimes in the newspaper. It is refreshing to read about a community working together toward a common goal, especially because of its overwhelming success. They may not have ever had a coat before and they see how important it is to have one. These children are the ones who are the most thankful. Having a coat not only keeps them warmer but also allows them to avoid some of the ridicule from other more fortunate children. Having a coat helps the children prevent illnesses. It is a shame that any child has to go through that and the donations help put a stop to this.

Although it is comforting to know that many children will be kept warm this winter, these efforts were not enough. Many other children still go through the harsh winter without the proper attire, food, or even parental support. I am not suggesting that people need to supply the less fortunate with full wardrobes, but I think a coat is needed for every child. When I walk from my house to my car on the way to school, I am fully equipped with a sweatshirt and a jacket, yet I am still freezing. I can only imagine how cold it is for children who go off to school with only a sweatshirt meant to be worn in the fall or spring. This shows that although the efforts of our community are great, it is simply not enough if even one child has no coat to wear in the winter.

Nassau County has a budget that is larger than that of 11 states. It is one of the highest budgets of any county in the United States. It is unfortunate that any child has to go without a coat. It is not the county's responsibility to provide children with coats, but most of its constituents could afford to donate one. It will not make or break most households to make a small donation and it would help needy children get through a rough time in their life.

Overall, McDonough's campaign was a success to a certain extent. He led a community in an effort to help needy children get through the winter. This was a valiant effort, and it leads me to wonder why some children are still in need. Did everyone donate toward the campaign or did some ignore it because they were too busy to help? They were too absorbed in their everyday life to stop for a minute and think about a needy child who cannot even walk to school with a coat on. They do not stop to think how often these children get sick because of being in the cold without a coat on. Although the campaign was a success, it would have been an even greater success with the help of everyone. I am not talking about any life-changing donations. If everyone donated just one coat, every child could have a coat for the winter.

Joseph Gucciardo Jr.

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