PORT CHESTER, N.Y. The Carver Center in Port Chester hosted its annual "Holiday Toy and Coat Extravaganza" on Monday giving more than a thousand coats and toys to members of the center's food pantry and after-school program.
According to Elizabeth Cook, development director of the Carver Center, the center has conducted the event for many years in "one capacity or another" but this year saw a stark format change.
Cook said the primary goal of the event used to focus on providing new winter clothing hats, mittens, coats to the event's participants. "The goal of the event used to be to get a coat for every kid," Cook said.
But thanks to help from the Children's Hope Chest (CHC) and Rye Middle School's Reach Out Rye service club, the event was able to offer thousands of toys in addition to clothing. "The tremendous community support allowed us to add the toy element," Cook said, "Children's Hope Chest and Reach Out Rye have been especially generous.
According to Cook, Reach Out Rye provided more than 100 coats to the Carver Center, most of which came with toy or gift card.
CHC, a grassroots service organization created in 2004, is the event's primary sponsor. "They've donated over 200 brand new coats, decorations, volunteers, and the list goes on," Cook said of CHC.
Ellen Kaidanow, CHC spokesperson, said the group was created in 2004 when moms from Purchase Middle School recognized a greater need within the community after coordinating a holiday service program.
Now, seven years later, CHC is a registered 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization that serves eight local agencies including My Sisters Place in White Plains, the Bronx YMCA, and the Carver Center in Port Chester.
"The beautiful thing about us is we are just a bunch of moms doing this on our kitchen tables," Kaidanow said.
Kaidanow added that the CHC is all about community involvement. Anyone can register to donate by visiting the CHC website. www.childrenshopechest.com .
"We also try to reach out to teenagers and children," she said. "We believe it's important to teach and educate the next generation on the importance of giving back.
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