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Donation Drive Started by Lawrence Township 5-Year-Old Collects 90 Winter Coats for Mercer Street Friends

Ninety people will be warmer this winter thanks to a coat drive recently organized by Nathaniel "Nate" Whitehead, a kindergartner at Lawrence Township's Eldridge Park Elementary School.

Nathaniel “Nate” Whitehead is your average kindergartener. He loves playing with his mom’s iPhone and just being a kid.

He also gets it. He knows, even though he is only 5, that he can make a difference in someone's life.

And make a difference he certainly did. He started a donation drive that collected 90 coats to help keep people warm this winter.

"Nate is really excited! He already knows it feels good to help people," said his mom, Mary Whitehead.

As a , the staff at Eldridge Park Elementary School – where Nate attends kindergarten – work hard to instill good values in their students. Each week, students meet to discuss how they have made a difference – such as “I made a friend,” “I donated clothes,” “I helped my mom,” and many other ways.

After donating a pile of clothes to the Salvation Army, Nate wanted to do something bigger.

He and his mom discussed what he could do to make a difference. Calling around to local charities to get some ideas, Mary Whitehead spoke with Kathi Morley at Mercer Street Friends. Morley said at that moment their greatest need was for winter coats. It was starting to get cold out and not everyone has a coat, she explained.

Nate loved the idea of holding a coat drive. “It makes me happy because all the boys and girls who don’t have coats will get coats. Then they will be warm,” the 5-year-old explained.

Mary Whitehead said he son got more and more excited as the pile of donated coats grew.

She said he son “loves” going to school at Eldridge Park and credits Eldridge Park Principal Kathy Robbins and Guidance Counselor Tricia Burns with leading the school to be “really good at making a difference.”

Mary Whitehead is also very impressed with Morley and the staff at Mercer Street Friends. “They are a great organization. They help 20,000 people a year get back on their feet, get a job, the food bank, and clothing,” she said.

By the time Nate’s coat drive had finished on Nov. 9, a total of 90 coats had been collected. The Whiteheads are happy with each and every coat that was colected because it means another person will be warm this winter.

Morley recently emailed the Whiteheads to express her thanks on behalf of Mercer Street Friends.

"You would have enjoyed being here yesterday when our MSF staff came to pick up the coats,” she wrote. “They were so excited. They would pick up a coat and then name a child that would receive the coat. Thank you again for the wonderful job you did putting this all together. I would love to work with you in the future!"

At just 5 years old, Nate Whitehead is already an inspiration.

KM December 03, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Way to go Nate!! That is so exciting that you were able to start something so BIG! We donated 3 coats to your coat drive, and I'm so happy to know that they have made another child warm for this Winter!
phil vigliano December 03, 2011 at 03:32 AM
You go Nate, Uncle Phil loves you. Great job!!

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