A Long Beach student supplied extra warmth to local residents during the holiday season.
Danielle Breen, 16, a junior at Long Beach High School, organized a three-week coat drive titled “Unzip Your Hearts” that collected 70 winter coats last month for donation to the Long Beach Martin Luther King Center. She received donations of winter hats, scarfs and gloves, too.
To spread word of the effort, Breen hung fliers throughout the school and placed them in each teacher’s mailbox. She also put a donation bin in one of her classrooms, emptying it weekly and storing the items in her family’s garage.
“Giving back in the holiday season is one of the greatest feelings you can have,” Breen said. Seeing the happiness of those receiving the coats “made me feel like I accomplished something special.”
Breen, who plans to organize another collection in the next school year, said she was particularly touched by one donated coat that included a personalized note and a customized sticker.
“That coat made me realize that there are so many people out there that care, and how important giving back to the community really is,” she said.
Breen is a member of the varsity golf and tennis teams, Mathletes team and Key Club. She plays violin in the school’s chamber orchestra.