Throggs Neck four-year-old starts winter clothing drive

Lugo (l) and Petraglia with the donation box at the Buhre Avenue Excel.
Photo by Bill Weisbrod

Joseph Petraglia of Throggs Neck, then 3 years old, was outdoors with his mother Geanine last winter when she told him to put his hat and gloves on, or else he would catch a cold.

Joseph refused, pointing to other children, who were not wearing either.

“Maybe they don’t have them” his mother said.

Perplexed by his mom’s reply, Joseph asked, why couldn’t she buy a coat for everyone?

Geanine explained that would be a bit too expensive. So a year later, Joseph and Geanine Petraglia did the next best thing – they held a winter clothing drive.

The drive kicked off on Saturday, December 10 and ran through Tuesday, December 20. Collection stations were set up at businesses the family frequents regularly, such as Excel Martial Arts, on Buhre Avenue, Zerega Avenue and in Larchmont. They also held a one-day collection at Crosstown Diner. All of the clothing will go to the Manhattan-based nonprofit Room To Grow, which will then distribute the clothes to families in need throughout the New York City area.

Geanine also publicized the drive through her “East Bronx Macaroni Kid” newsletter, which she writes for and edits. It is the local edition of a national newsletter that promotes kid-friendly activities.

“We figured we would be safe to stick with businesses we know,” Geanine said. “We’re collecting winter clothes – mainly hats and gloves.

“We want to keep all the kids warm so they don’t get ‘sicky’ in my son’s words,” she said.

Geanine works in clothing retail management, so she hypothesized that “he thought I could just bring everything home.”

The drive has been so successful that Joseph and Geanine may do it again next year.

“Because I don’t want kids to get sicky,” Joseph said.

Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at wweisbrod@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394.

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