Dominique Brown, Ruby Hernandez, Eliza Garcia and Daniella Galvan spent last Saturday helping to ensure families in need stay warm this season.
Last weekend, the La Joya Independent School District’s Public Information Office held a Winter Coat Drive, where they accepted donations of coats, jackets, scarves, gloves and beanies. The donated clothing will be distributed throughout the district before they break for the holidays, according to Public Relations & Communications Coordinator Blanca Cantú.
“We’ll coordinate with the social workers and the Parental Involvement so they can tell us the need at each of the campuses,” Cantú said. “That’s how they’re dispersed.”
LJISD previously held a winter coat drive three years ago, but the event stopped since. Cantú hopes that the drive becomes an annual tradition and continues to grow.
“Based on the community and the need, we’re here to help and be of service,” Cantú said. “We want to help not only our students, but everyone in the home.”
The need for coat drives like these is present throughout the Valley, according to Cantú.
“[We are in] a big area, so we have the highest demographic of those in need,” Cantú said. “We just try to help as much as we can in the areas that are needed.”
Superintendent Gisela Saenz attended the drive, and helped the volunteers sort donations as they came in.
“We try to teach not just the academics, but to be kind to people and to take care of each other,” Saenz said. “I think us doing this coat drive is one example we can show our kids: that it’s important for everybody to do it.”
Saenz also stressed the need for coat drives like these.
“Especially when it’s this time of year, the season of giving, we want to show our kids that the district does believe in our community,” Saenz said. “We know our community cares about each other, because these coats are not just for students – they’re for the community also. It’s better to give than to receive.”
The volunteers, who all attend Jimmy Carter Early College High School, participate in a wide array of extracurricular activities. While they were able to earn volunteer hours at the drive, they felt the real reason for the season is giving back to their community.
Garcia, Galvan, Brown and Hernandez expressed that there was a need for a Winter Coat Drive in La Joya, and said they also hope the district continues the endeavor for years to come.
“I just like helping out,” Garcia said. “It’s a part of me.”
By the end of the drive, which ran from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m., over 200 coats were donated, along with several bundles of scarves, beanies, gloves and mittens.
This article originally appeared in the Friday Dec. 13, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.