A West Islip elementary school student recently did his part to help local families stay warm this winter.
Nate Butler, a third-grader at Paul J. Bellew Elementary School, spearheaded a 10-day winter clothing drive at his school last month to benefit the Gerald J. Ryan Outreach Center at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Roman Catholic Church in Wyandanch.
The new and gently used clothing, which included ski pants and winter jackets, was "enough to fill a commercial van," said his mother, Cara.
"The amount of clothes donated was just unbelievable," she said. "He's a very ambitious little boy. I was so proud of him."
Nate got permission from his school's principal, Dan Hunter, to launch the drive and then drafted a letter promoting the effort, which was sent home to all Bellew school families. School officials also made announcements over the public-address system reminding students and staff to bring in clothing.
Nate, 9, was inspired to organize the drive after reading articles about community service in Time for Kids magazine.
"Nate's enthusiasm for this clothing drive was contagious throughout the entire school," Hunter said. "By his actions, he encouraged us all to always do our best to help those in need."