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Students at Douglaston school donate to coat drive

Students from Douglaston’s St. Anastasia School have collected 100 winter coats in a November coat drive, doubling the number donated in the past month to an initiative run by a Little Neck realtor.

Carolyn Meenan, associate broker for Little Neck’s Bryce Rea Associates on Northern Boulevard, said she has operated an ongoing drive, which delivers winter coats to borough residents, for the past eight years. The Douglaston school has taken part in the drive for the past three years.

Meenan said this year’s drive is especially important with the state and national economies continuing on a downward slide.

“There’s a need this year more than ever,” she said. “Because of the economy, we are getting less donations and the coats we are getting are really worn out. We’re used to having an abundance.”

Meenan said she began this year’s drive in early November and would typically have collected at least 300 coats by early December. But she said she has only collected 100 so far. St. Anastasia students, however, have matched the number of coats in her drive, bringing the total number of collected coats to 200.

Students in grades six to eight and on St. Anastasia’s student council organized the school’s role in the drive during 10 days in mid−November.

Teacher Maryalice McCann said the students worked hard to collect coats of all sizes in the drive’s third year.

“We’re a Catholic school,” she said. “So we’re not just about doctrine, but also about service.”

Students said they were pleased they were able to collect as many coats as they did amid the struggling economy.

“It’s amazing that people still brought this amount of coats, considering we’re in tough times,” said student Stefanie Wolf, who wrote a letter to parents of the students in which she emphasized the need for coat donations.

Student Sabrina Bekios said she has taken part in the coat drive each year since it began.

“I like the thought of helping people,” she said.

Meenan said she delivers the coats to various sites throughout Queens, including College Point’s St. Fidelis Mother & Child Church and Long Island City’s St. Margaret’s Church, where they are distributed to the needy.

Meenan said the Queens communities most in need of coats this year were Long Island City, the Rockaways and Jamaica. She said she is still collecting coats and other clothing items.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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