Charitable New Yorkers from Pavement Pieces on Vimeo.

As the Service Events Coordinator for New York Cares, Diane Conroy spends her time figuring out how to connect volunteers with meaningful projects that help New Yorkers in need.

One of the most notable events she coordinates is the citywide coat drive. The headquarters in midtown opened its doors nearly two weeks early this year to begin collecting for Hurricane Sandy victims. So far, they have gathered over 27,000 coats. They hope to reach 200,000.

“I’ve been doing this drive for three years and I feel like it’s such a tangible way to see how good New Yorkers are, and the rest of the country,” Conroy said.

Although she encounters generous volunteers daily, Conroy specifically remembers a phone call she once received from a woman who bought 400 brand new coats for New York Cares.

Unfortunately, despite Conroy’s efforts and the remarkable generosity of thousands, tough economic times have impacted New York Cares in recent years. Nearly 5,000 kids who requested coats last year did not receive them.
Still, Conroy prefers to focus on the 76,800 people who did receive a coat they desperately needed.

“Every one of those coats someone took out of their closet and thought of someone else to give. So it’s really an amazing thing to see,” she said.

Coat donations are accepted at New York public libraries and New York City Police Departments until December 31st.

“Seeing the amazing generosity of people on a daily basis is probably my favorite part,” Conroy said.