PITTSTON — Some young members of the community took the spirit of giving to heart recently with a coat drive.
From Oct. 30 to Nov. 22, junior members of the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick collected over 500 coats and over $1000 in monetary donations for Care & Concern Free Health Clinic, Pittston.
“Me and my dad came up with the idea. It was his idea to do it with the Friendly Sons,” said Jack Long, 13, of Pittston, who spearheaded the drive.
He added that he handled all of the behind-the-scenes work, which included visiting local businesses for donations.
“The club is very civic minded and my goal was to involve the younger members to get involved and teach them to give back,” said his father, Joe Long. “Jack came up with the idea and ran the events with Lee and Debbie Monteforte helping him.”
The nonprofit was chosen for its ties to St. John the Evangelist Church and the Friendly Sons, Jack said. The clinic is a division of the church’s Care and Concern Ministries.
“My family goes to that church, and the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons are attached with them. That’s where we go every St. Patrick’s Day … for our yearly Mass,” Jack explained.
Many local people, businesses and organizations lent a hand, including Debbie and Lee Moneforte; Bayada Home Health, Shamrock Division; Corpus Christie Parish and Msgr. Sempa; St. John The Evangelist Parish and Father Elston; Queen of Apostles Parish and Father Sladicka; Duchess Outlet, Paul and Julio Caprari; Agolino’s Restaurant; Crest Cleaners; Ballyhoo Ice Cream Store; Driscoll’s Home Supply; Stoners Soccer; Wyoming Area Intermediate Center Student Council; officers of the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick; and Pittston Care and Concern.
Jack also had the help of other junior members, comprising Mason Slusser, 5; T.J. Kearns, 12; Jack’s brother, Joe Long III, 14; Gavin Caprio, 13; Ciaran Bilbow, 12; Brady Bilbow, 10; Reilly Bilbow, 6; Crosby McFarland, 4; Brady Kearns, 10; Aidan Dollar, 13; Nick George, 14; Max Gregor, 11; and Declan Gregor, 9.
“All of the kids were very enthusiastic, and the outpouring of generosity was staggering,” Joe said.
“It feels really good to get all the people in need the coats to keep them warm. It also feels really good getting involved with the community,” Jack said. “I got to talk to a lot of other people who help in the community. It was a really nice event and a good experience. Definitely something I would do again next year and the years following.”