Non-profit group run by elementary school students looks for winter coat donations


GLEN ROCK, Pa. (WHTM) – Winter’s not far off, and you’re probably starting to hear from charitable organizations collecting items so families can stay warm, but a group in York County is different. It’s founded by a six-year-old boy.

The kids would like to collect 1,000 coats by Thanksgiving.

Coats of Friendship is a 501(c)3 non-profit group run by eight students at Friendship Elementary School in Glen Rock. They recently kicked off this year’s drive to collect coats and accessories.

Tristan Rankin is in fourth grade, and he founded the organization at just six years old, after seeing a video of a homeless man cold in a park.

“I knew that was a reality, so I wanted to make people not feel like that. I just started collected coats and giving them out,” Tristan Rankin said. “I just wanted to do it, and I didn’t care how old I was. I just wanted to make a difference.”

“Everyone needs a coat. Homeless people, you don’t want to see them freezing, like in the movies you see them like ice. That’s what they feel like. You want them to have a coat so they feel warm,” said six-year-old Emerson Rankin, the youngest member of the non-profit.

Coats of Friendship recently got a $2,500 check from the Shrewsbury Wal-Mart.

“I just really want to help poor people,” nine-year old Ava Miliauskas said.

Sisters Ava and Ella Miliauskas are in charge of collecting the winter accessories, which includes gloves, hats, and scarves.

“If people have no money to buy clothes, I want people to be warm like that. I want to collect coats to give to them,” seven-year-old Ella Miliauskas said.

The coats can be new or used and in any condition.

“It could be wrinkly. It could be dirty or holey. It could be brand new. We take any coat,” nine-year-old Joey Kirby said.

“I see it going to hundreds of thousands of coats. I see it actually making a difference in York,” Tristan Rankin said.

The group of pint-sized humanitarians are making a difference and showing people of all ages the importance of kindness and generosity.

Coats of Friendship collected more than 700 coats last year. They handed out many of them at Lifepath Christian Ministries. The goal this year is to get 1,000 by Thanksgiving. You can donate at York College and any school in the Southern York County School District. Coats of Friendship also has a Facebook page.

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