The New York Rangers and Garden of Dreams Foundation annual Children’s Coat Drive is one of the most impactful community relations efforts the team organizes each year. What makes this initiative so special is that the Rangers community truly pulls together, from the players and alumni, to the rink and corporate partners and of course, the loyal Rangers fans, all with the common goal of keeping New York’s children warm throughout the winter.
This season’s coat drive marked the sixth consecutive year fans were able to contribute a new or gently used children’s winter coat for the Rangers to deliver to the children and families of Garden of Dreams partner organizations.
Thanks to the overwhelming support of the fans, community rink partners, and coat companies in the Garment District, over 2,400 coats were collected and delivered to underprivileged kids this holiday season. Fans had an opportunity to donate coats at various Rangers games in November and December as well as at various community ice arenas, which have been so important to this program over the last four years.
|Rangers forward Wojtek Wolski poses with the young recipient of a donated coat during Wolski's visit to Losaida, a Garden of Dreams Foundation partner |
Many of the coats were brand new, which is a tribute to the fans generosity as well as the generosity of various coat companies here in Manhattan that wanted to support the cause.
After the coats were collected, Rangers current players and alumni, as well as members of the Rangers wives and significant others group helped distribute them to local organizations in the area and help the children pick out their perfect coat.
On Tuesday, December 6, Wojtek Wolski delivered coats to over 100 kids from Loisaida, a partner of Garden of Dreams. The mission of Loisaida is to facilitate access to education, training and employment opportunities that ensure the overall improvement and economic development of the community. Loisaida concentrates its efforts through comprehensive youth and family support programs – to eliminate barriers to learning and to secure significant social and economic development opportunities.
In addition to distributing the coats that day, Wolski signed autographs and took pictures while spreading holiday cheer. The kids received snacks and gift bags as well.
“I think it’s very important,” said Wolski. “So many people struggle during the year but Christmas is a time where it definitely hits people harder. It’s great that people are getting involved, donating their time and giving jackets away. It’s definitely needed. Anytime you get something new as a kid it’s great and especially kids that are in need to get a new coat I think it’s special for them and it’s something that will keep them warm for the next couple of months.”
On Monday, December 12, Adam Graves delivered coats to children at the Life Center. The focus of this residence is to prepare participants for the world of work and for permanent housing, in addition to enhancing their ability to live and grow independently. There are 210 children from 6 months to 18 years old who are members of the 93 homeless families living at the Life Center. Following school that day, the children lined up to pick out a new winter coat before meeting Graves and receiving snacks and gift bags.
|Rangers great Adam Graves poses with one of the children at Life Center who received winter coats donated by Blueshirts fans. Graves made a personal delivery of the coats on Dec. 12. |
“It’s a real privilege to see the appreciation on these kids faces,” stated Rangers great Adam Graves. “Looking at all these great coats that have been donated, it tells you how great our fans are that they would give to this cause to assist our efforts with children in our area.”
For the third and final delivery of coats, members of the Rangers’ wives and significant others group hosted a special fashion show event on Thursday, December 15 at the Children’s Aid Society East Harlem Center gymnasium. For more than 150 years, the Children’s Aid Society has had a single mission: to do whatever New York City’s neediest children need. Its goal is to ensure the physical and emotional well being of children and families, and to provide every child with the support and opportunities needed to become a happy, healthy and successful adult.
For this particular event, the players’ wives and significant others joined together to create an unforgettable runway fashion event for the children, helping prep the kids by assisting with hair, makeup and even teaching the kids how to perfect their runway strut. The kids were able to dress up and walk down a runway adorned by their family along with the Rangers’ wives and significant others, who were snapping photos along the way. It was a special day where the kids felt like stars and spent the afternoon smiling from ear-to-ear.SPECIAL THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING COMMUNITY ICE ARENAS, COAT COMPANIES AND OTHER SUPPORTERS FOR THEIR GENEROSITY AND PARTICIPATION IN THIS YEAR’S COAT DRIVE:
|Community Ice Arenas |
- Brewster Ice Arena
- City Ice Pavilion
- Danbury Arena
- Ebersole Ice Rink
- Floyd Hall Arena
- Freeport Recreational Ice Center
- City of Long Beach Arena
- Cutting Edge Ice Academy
- McCann Ice Arena
- EJ Murray Memorial Skating Center
- Palisades Center Ice Rink
- Playland Ice Casino
- Port Washington Skating Center
- Staten Island Skating Pavilion
- Stergiopoulos Ice Rink
- Superior Ice Rink
- World Ice Arena
|Coat Companies |
- Bernardo Fashions
- Runway Global
- Herman Kay Company, Inc.
|Other Supporters |
- Eton of Sweden
- Your Special Delivery Solutions, Inc.
For more information on the Garden of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit charity that works closely with all areas of The Madison Square Garden Company, including the Rangers, Knicks, Liberty, MSG Entertainment, MSG Networks and Fuse to "make dreams come true for kids facing obstacles,” please log onto gardenofdreamsfoundation.org