operation warm
Photo by Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA)

‘Tis the season for giving. The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA) has raised over $60,000 that will be used to purchase more than 2,000 warm winter jackets for Operation Warm. Hosted at a local Mercedes-Benz dealership, the drive will help clothe children from families in need in warm outerwear.

Helm Bros. Group in Queens is a major supporter of the clothing drive, and they’ve raised $12,000 for Operation Warm this year. Their contributions alone can purchase 600 coats for kids. Other dealers in the GNYADA added another $48,000 to the total.

Mark Schienberg, GNYADA president, said, “New car and truck dealers in local communities all over metro New York are some of the largest contributors to charities, but the coat drive is one of the most important efforts that they undertake each year in the cold winter months to make life a little easier for people in need of assistance. We admire their generosity and community spirit.”

Operation Warm operates nationally as a non-profit organization that helps to provide basic needs to “underserved children” including shoes, coats, books, access to flu shots, and more. Grace Sica is the executive director at Operation Warm, and she said, “We applaud the incredible concerted effort by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association to rally its entire membership of local new car dealers to provide warm coats to children in need this winter.”

Charitable acts at a vulnerable time

Dealerships have had plenty of hurdles to face in 2021, and that’s no different for Helm Bros. Some Mercedes-Benz deliveries have been delayed more than a year, according to some reports, and COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions certainly caused disruptions for dealers like Helm Bros. Still, the dealership recognized a need amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and sought to do something about it. 

“Helms Bros. is thrilled to join other local area franchised new car dealers to provide brand-new warm winter coats to those who need them most. COVID has created so many challenges for parents and if we can help take away one of those burdens and help keep a child warm this winter, we’re more than happy to step up to the plate,” said Suzanne Cochrane, the general manager at Helms Bros.

Along with the financial donation to Operation Warm, Helm Bros. actively contributes to the New York Cares Coat Drive, also organized by GNYADA. Their dealership normally hosts collection boxes, asking patrons for their “gently used coats that you are willing to donate to a great cause”. These coats are donated to men, women, and children in the Metro area. However, the pandemic has prevented coat collection this year. 

Community cares

Dozens of dealers contributed financially to the Operation Warm coat drive fundraiser this year. On their website, GNYADA mentioned Jaguar Land Rover of Glen Cove donated $6,000 to Operation Warm, and Volvo Cars White Plains of the Premier Collection Auto Group added another $5,000 to the cause.

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