The cold, crisp winter breeze blows throughout the Bay Area. To most, it is a cheerful sign that winter is here. But for others, it is a reminder of the necessary clothing items that they cannot afford this holiday season. Sophomore Sydney Scofield has just what these people need, a coat drive.
The coats collected during Scofield’s drive at PHS from Nov. 27 to Jan. 19 will be donated to the Covenant House, a place for young adults to seek shelter and guidance, in Jack London Square in Oakland.
“I decided to start the coat drive because I volunteered with my mom over Thanksgiving break at the Covenant House,” Scofield said. “They told me that I was too young to start volunteering by myself at the house, but that I could help by organizing a coat drive.”
Scofield said she is looking forward to helping the young adults in need and is happy to see the support from the school.
“The Covent House has residential space for between 20 to 50 people and also has a space for homeless people who need supplies to care for themselves,” Scofield said.
To organize the drive, Scofield said she first got her idea approved by the MHS administration. Then she went to PHS ASB to organize the drive at PHS, and had announcements to let people know about the drive and placed bins to drop off the coats in the hallways.
“I have definitely felt support for the drive because the first day all of the bins in the hallway were full, which felt really good,” Scofield said.
MHS teacher Marcela Privat-Gilman is one the advisors who helped Scofield start the coat drive.
Privat-Gilman said Sydney Scofield came to her and said she had volunteered at the Covenant House, and thought that she could do something at MHS, and wanted their support.
Privat-Gilman said Scofield is setting an example for how an individual student can create opportunities for community service at the high school.
“So far there are two garbage bags full of coats, which I would say is a success,” Privat-Gilman said.
Privat-Gilman said that to make students more aware, instead of announcing the coat drive over announcements, representatives from the Covenant House could go into classrooms to make a bigger impact.
“I definitely think Scofield is a role model, she provided everything, she made posters, she brought the bins, she collects the bags, all she was asking for support was to hang the posters,” Privat-Gilman said.
Because the kids at the shelter are very close to high school age, Scofield said students in the PHS community can relate to them and want to help this issue.
“I am hoping to make people aware of this issue by having this fundraiser bring awareness to this issue and letting people know about the Covenant House and what they do,” Scofield said.
Sophomore Kate Goldberg has also felt impacted by the drive and donated some of her old coats and blankets.
“Donating a coat made me feel really good, because I see the need for blankets and coats for the homeless community and I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life,” Goldberg said.
Goldberg said having the coat drive at both PHS and MHS is a good start to continue to spread awareness about the change that high schoolers can make.
“I knew there was a large homeless population in Oakland but before the drive I was not aware of how many young people are affected by homelessness and need our help,” Goldberg said.
Goldberg said the high schools should do more drives like this because many people have old clothes that they could give to someone who really needs them.
“It is important that people keep spreading awareness about this issue because as young people we can make an impact on other young adults lives,” Goldberg said.