Hillel International’s interfaith coat drive becomes holiday tradition

Maya Demchak-Gottlieb, Editor-In-Chief

Hillel International at Baruch College launched its second annual interfaith holiday coat drive on Dec. 6 to help those in need this season.

To start the donation period, Hillel and its co-sponsors hosted an event on the second floor of the Newman Vertical Campus. In exchange for their donations, students could receive a cup of hot chocolate. Collection bins were also placed in Hillel and the Honors Program office which were open for donations from Dec. 6 to Dec. 13.

Students can donate new or gently used coats and other winter gear like hats and gloves, or they can make a monetary donation. Donations are going to the organization New York Cares in the form of one coat or a $25 donation that distributes a coat and 10 meals.

Kayla Aaron, a sophomore and public affairs major, founded the event and organized it again this year. She said seeing people in need while commuting to school inspired her to find a way to help.

“I would walk a lot to and from Penn Station and on my walk and in Penn Station I would see a lot of people who were unhoused or really struggling,” Aaron said. “It’s a very difficult time to be outside when it’s cold so I figured what can we do to help people who need to stay warm.”

This year Aaron wanted to improve the event by moving it inside and partnering with other organizations.

InterVarsity, AEPI, YOFI, Baruch Organization of Soviet Students, SVA, ISA, WINGS, The Ticker, 50five capital, the Honors Program and CEO co-sponsored the event.

Aaron also said she valued the interfaith nature of the event because it enabled students from different backgrounds to come together to maximize the kindness they could spread to the community.

“We wanted to make it not a Hanukkah coat drive, but a holiday coat drive so that everyone’s included and we can all do some giving in the holiday season which I think is really important to a lot of people and is really important to me,” she said.

Aaron hopes by creating a week-long donation period, it will accommodate different student schedules.

“Even anyone who didn’t know that we were doing this today now that we’re here today they know that they can work on it or bring stuff in the whole week so it’s a collection event and advertising events,” Aaron said.

The coat drive is a tradition Aaron said they hope to continue for many years.

“If this is my only legacy ever, I would love for this to be it,” she said. “I’m a public affairs major because I love to help people and to establish this to be a tradition to do next year and the year after and hopefully after I graduate. I would appreciate that and I think it’s really meaningful.”