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7th Annual Levittown Coat Drive a Huge Success

Levittown resident blows past her goals for this year's coat drive, which go to various local organizations for those in need.

A bunch of coats were donated for the 7th annual coat drive.
A bunch of coats were donated for the 7th annual coat drive.
Story by Nicole Murphy. 

Lindsay Gruntorad was taught the importance of giving back to those less fortunate since a young age.    

The values instilled in her throughout her childhood inspired Guntorad, a ‘08 graduate of Division Avenue High school, to start a coat drive in the winter of 2006.

"I went to a soup kitchen in Harlem with my mom and I noticed how cold the people were waiting on line, how none of them really had a heavy winter coat,”said Guntorad, 22. “So the following year I brought back 50 jackets with me. The coat drive is in its 7th year now and it has blown up to huge proportions."  

Guntorad and her family still frequent the soup kitchen each year on Thanksgiving to help serve food to those in need.  Since her drive has expanded, she's donated the coats to various local organizations including New York Cares and the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless.  

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"I'm so grateful my mother introduced me to the soup kitchen and instilled in me that you help others whenever you can," Guntorad said. "It brings me such happiness to be able to help those who need it."  

In 2011, Guntorad collected 619 jackets from August to November. As the drive grows, Guntorad tries to raise more than the previous year.  

"We had a two page article in Newsday just this weekend and that really helped this year," she explained. "I usually stop collecting Nov. 30, but I've gotten a huge response, so I'm going to keep collecting until the end of next week. Before the article ran Sunday, I had collected 400 coats and I've already gotten 200 more since then."  

Guntorad said she is simply overwhelmed with the response she's received over the last six years and hopes her drive continues to grow.  

"Starting with 50 coats, I could have never imagined that last year I'd raise 617, and this year is still growing," Guntorad said. "I never thought it my wildest dreams this could be so successful."  

Unfortunately for those looking to donate, she added that the drive has been so successful in the past couple of weeks that she is currently not looking for any more donations.  

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