YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Hundreds of people who are homeless or low-income now have the winter coats and accessories they may have been without thanks to a group of elementary school students running their own non-profit organization.
“I am from Puerto Rico,” Jackie Baez said as she ruffled through coats. “I came as an emergency. It’s really bad out there. There’s no water, no electricity, hardly any food. There’s a lot of poor people.”
Jackie Baez arrived in York from Puerto Rico on Friday with nothing.
Baez is now warm due to six students at Friendship Elementary School in Glen Rock.
Nine-year-old Tristan Rankin started the 501(c)3 non-profit three years ago after seeing a homeless man in a video.
“It feels like I’m changing the world and making a difference,” Rankin said. “I saw people from Puerto Rico coming here, so that made me really happy.”
“The impact that this makes today is just monumental in the lives of those who walk through that door. This is a year-round effort from the kids,” said Matt Carey, executive director of Lifepath Christian Ministries.
Coats of Friendship collected almost 1,500 winter coats and handed them out at Lifepath Christian Ministries Saturday. Every coat had a personal message or drawing from a child.
The kids spent the second part of the day placing winter coats and accessories at four parks in York City.
“I think everyone deserves to be warm. Maybe at one time they made a poor decision. That doesn’t mean they’re not a human,” Rankin said.
It may just be a coat, but it means the world to Jackie Baez and those in her shoes.
“I’m here, and I feel warm and well wanted,” Baez said.
Coats of Friendship collects winter items throughout the year. You can get in touch with them through their Facebook page.