The Ibero-American Action League helped 3,500 individuals settle into the Rochester area after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. On Saturday, the League, along with other organizations, helped to give away coats to those in need, many of them still adjusting to life post-Maria, and gear them up for the Rochester winter.
Shalym Nater, Program Coordinator of the Ibero-American Action League, commented on the number of people assisted at the event saying, “we had 859 individuals that came through our doors and we were able to help.” He added that was approximately 8,500 pounds of outerwear, which translates to roughly 2,000 coats.
Jose Delgado, Operational Manager, Planet Aid, an organization also helping, said, “This is our fifth year doing this right now, so we are actually doubling up on the pounds, thanks to the Rochester community that’s out there passing out the coats for us.”
Gianni Morales, the youngest volunteer has been doing this coat drive and giveaway since the age of six, had some insight to share on what participating in something like this does for him. “I feel happy about helping people out, and giving them what they don’t have, that I already have.”
Hot food was also distributed to help those new to the area feel welcome, and build an environment of camaraderie. Delgado added, “We don’t do it for success, we do it because we’re giving back to the community, you know, that’s what it’s all about and making sure that everybody stays warm for this coming winter.”
Nader and Delgado said this was a highly successful occasion, but the need for warm outerwear continues in the community. Even well after the giveaway ended, people still showed up hoping for a coat.
As mentioned, the coat giveaway was spearheaded by the Ibero-American Action League, which was instrumental in helping Puerto Ricans settle in the Rochester area after Hurricane Maria. The League had help during today’s event from Planet Aid, MVP Health, Nazareth College, and the United Way of Greater Rochester Latino Leadership Development Program.