The days might be getting longer but the temperature remains cold in New York, where hundreds of thousands of city residents face winter each year without a warm, high-quality coat. In an effort to alleviate the chill and help New Yorkers in need, leading real estate brokerage Halstead collected more than 4,500 coats late last year through its Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens offices in partnership with the New York Cares 2019 Coat Drive.
Each November the firm’s philanthropic arm, Halstead Helping Hands, rallies its agents into action. “By the nature of their business, our agents are engrained in their communities and ideally positioned to reach people in every neighborhood across New York City. Not only do the agents have a unique ability to spread the word on the ground, they are able to offer an incredible resource to clients who might be cleaning out their closets in anticipation of a move,” said Diane Ramirez, Chairman & CEO of Halstead.
Over the six years that Halstead has supported the coat drive, hundreds of participating agents have perfected the art of collection, gathering a staggering 30,000 coats for New Yorkers in need. The firm employs a three-pronged approach which includes placing donation boxes in the majority of its 20 offices located in New York City, within many of the 200 buildings under Halstead Management, and throughout numerous other residential buildings where Halstead agents live or do extensive business.
“Building residents look forward to the annual drive,” said Sara Rotter, Halstead’s Executive Director of Sales Downtown, who spearheads the Halstead Helping Hands Coat Drive effort. “They start asking our agents at the end of the summer when the next drive will start and how many coats they are aiming to deliver.”
Agents go to incredible lengths to ensure New Yorkers in-need stay warm. Top individual coat collectors included Mark D. Friedman, Francisco Menendez and Mark Levine, who each individually secured well over 125 coats. Others, like Andrew Saracino, got creative – pooling money from his office colleagues to buy coats at the Salvation Army and washing every single one himself before donating.
“The coat drive hits home literally for agents because they spend their days walking all over the city, often subjected to extreme cold weather. It is unimaginable for them to think people do not have the most basic articles of clothing to stay warm,” added Rotter.
In order to get coats into the hands of needy recipients, Halstead works with longtime partner Scanio Movers, whose team makes weekly pickups of the thousands of Halstead-collected coats at locations across the city and delivers them to New York Cares warehouses.
The coat drive is a city-wide effort run by New York Cares which aims to collect over 100,000 coats each year and distribute them to New Yorkers who need them most in the colder months.
In addition to the coat drive, Halstead Helping Hands is a strong supporter of philanthropic initiatives that encourage agents to give back to the community with a hands-on approach. Annually, the team participates in New York Cares’ revitalization days and Volunteers of America’s “Operation Backpack,” filling backpacks with necessary school supplies for New York City’s homeless children before they begin the school year.