Coat drive benefits hurricane victims now living in Berks

'We've seen over 200 families from the island'

READING, Pa. - It's not just any Christmas clothing drive, where an old coat or pair of gloves could use an update for an individual in need.

"They came here with the clothing on their backs," explained Michael Toledo, the president & CEO of Centro Hispano in Reading.  

For displaced families from Puerto Rico, that clothing on their backs isn't meant for cold weather.

"The families coming from Puerto Rico have no clothing for winter-wear," said Sue Krall, the executive director of New Journey Community Outreach. 

It's a social concern that isn't going away, as the number of displaced families from Puerto Rico coming to Reading keeps increasing.

"We've seen over 200 families from the island coming here," said Toledo.

But the response in Reading is ready to fill that need, as numerous organizations came together at the New Journey Church in Reading to donate coats, gloves, boots and various other winter-ready items. 

"We have students here from the Wilson School District, the Wyomissing Library, New Journey, the Hispanic Center," said Toledo.

All of those organizations, among others, are looking to put some warmer clothing on the backs of men, women and children displaced by Hurricane Maria. 

"We have had a wealth of donations come in a matter of a few days to help out," said Krall. 

And according to organizers, the need will continue in the weeks and months ahead to help these families recover. 

"The Hispanic Center and the organizations in the community stand ready to continue to support these displaced families," Toledo said.

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