A Child CAN Make A Difference

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We go through our lives hoping to make a difference in any way possible. Then you come across your friend’s son who, at the age of 8 years old, began to make a difference. I am so happy that he has been recognized for his efforts in helping those in need. This year will make 3 years of him making an impact.

Allow me to introduce you to Gabriel Gonzalez. When he was in third grade he asked his mom if they could purchase an extra coat for someone in need. This request led him down an amazing path. He began to ask those around him to help collect coats for the organization NY Cares. His school and Tae Kwon Do studio agreed to help with the collection. He hoped to get at least 5 coats and ended up collecting 223!!! NY Cares invited him and his family to tour the collection center so he can see just how important his efforts were and the difference he made.

Gabe with his collections in 2016
Helping bring his donations to NY Cares

In his second year of collecting coats he didn’t quite reach his goal of collecting more coats than his first year BUT along with collecting 143 coats he also collected $750 in donations to give to One Warm Coat. For every dollar that One Warm Coat receives, it provides warmth to 2 people!! So between the coats he collected and the monetary donations, Gabriel and his team called “Team Life Changers” were able to help a total of 1,643 people. According to his mother, Gabe said: “It’s so awesome and amazing to be able to give people the gift of warmth”. He is grateful to those that have helped in collecting coats and donations. Due to his amazing efforts, Gabe was honored at the 5th Annual Queens Impact Awards and was awarded a City Council Citation by Councilman Robert Holden. He has also been invited to speak at the NY Cares fundraiser next week, Nov 13, 2018, in front of 500 people. According to his mother, Mati Gonzalez, the organization is celebrating their 30th Anniversary of coat drives and are expecting to collect their 2,000,000th coat this year. In honor of that, they are highlighting those who are inspiring in front of the people that give them funding. At the young age of 10, Gabe will be there to share his incredible story. To see some of the articles that have been published about Gabe click here and here.

Receiving his City Council Citation from Councilman Robert Holden

So, I don’t know about you, but I want to help Gabe have his best year yet!! If you are in the NY, CT, NJ, or PA area I ask you to donate any gently used coats towards Gabe’s collection. If you are not in the area and would like to donate money towards the drive, that would be highly appreciated as well. There are 3 locations in NY. If you would like to help by becoming a donation center or make a donation please feel free to email Gabe at changestartswithme2016@gmail.com . I will gladly come at the end of the collection dates to pick up the coats you have collected.

Collection Sites

New York:

  1. The Spine & Pain Institute of New York: 1 Hollow Lane, Suite 102, Lake Success NY 11042
  2. P.S./I.S. 87: 80th Street, Middle Village, Queens, NY
  3. Ultimate Champions Tae Kwon Do: 72-07 Grand Ave, Maspeth, NY

Connecticut: email me to pick up any donations in the southern Connecticut area.


  1. Rebekah’s School of Dance: 1228 St. Ann Street, Scranton, PA 18504

More collection areas to be announced. I will also update with the link for monetary donations.


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