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November 26, 2013

Berkley hat and glove drive kicks off for kids in need

By Joshua Gordon
C & G Staff Writer

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Berkley hat and glove drive kicks off for kids in need
NorthPointe Foot & Ankle team members, from left, Darcy Elwart, Jenn Nunley and Maxine Munoz hold some of the hats, gloves, scarves and socks collected during the hat and glove drive last year in Berkley.

BERKLEY — Lee Hoffman, a podiatrist at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle in Berkley, said he and his fellow doctors are always looking for a way to get involved in their community, from working with the Rotary Club to the Berkley Chamber of Commerce.

But for Hoffman, one of the most important community collaborations is the annual hat and glove drive with the Berkley Senior Center.

For the fourth year, NorthPointe and the Berkley Senior Center will be hosting a clothing drive throughout Berkley where residents can donate new hats, gloves, scarves and socks, as well as the occasional homemade item. All items will be distributed throughout the community to children in need.

“The senior center came up with this idea a couple of years ago, and it was something that was really needed in the community, and it has been a real success,” Hoffman said. “Believe it or not, the economy has made it tight for everybody, and you may not think about it, but there are plenty of needy people around here, and we try to do our share to help them.”

Hoffman said that the hat and glove drive is special because it helps children.

Through his business’s newsletter and word of mouth, Hoffman said the donation drive begins with their patients, who have been supportive of the cause.

“Doing something like this, it makes people who maybe are a little down and out — it lets them know people out there really care about them,” he said. “We don’t need the recognition from somebody, so it is sent to people anonymously, because it doesn’t matter if we know who is getting the hats and gloves, but that it is getting to the right people.

“Who knows who is the next person to fall financially or because of a sickness? I’ve been here for 30 years, and Berkley has a strong community spirit and we help one another.”

The donation drive began Nov. 25 and runs through Dec. 13. Community members can donate hats, gloves, scarves and socks at NorthPointe, 27901 Woodward Ave., or the Berkley Senior Center, 2400 Robina Ave., during regular business hours.

Sue Thornton, the senior coordinator with the senior center, said it was the center’s Red Hats group that got the program started four years ago. While a lot of donations during the holidays help kids in need in impoverished countries, Thornton said this one is special because it helps local families.

“Everything we collect goes back to the Berkley School District, and whenever a staff (member) or a principal sees someone in need, they have access to this donation and can help out,” she said. “I think sometimes (local) donations are overlooked, and some of these kids in the district don’t have everything they need. It is great to give back to your own community, especially if there is a need.”

Hoffman said he hopes a donation drive such as the hat and glove drive will evolve into other ways to help local families, such as a donation at the end of summer to help local students with school supplies before classes start.

Money is also an acceptable donation for the hat and glove drive, and will be used to purchase new hats, gloves, scarves or socks, Hoffman said.

Thornton said several of her members knit winter gear for the children. Not only does the drive help those families in need, she said, but it also helps bridge a gap between the seniors and the children.

“I think it is really cool that there is this intergenerational thing here with the seniors giving back to our youth,” Thornton said. “Making a connection between the kids and the seniors is a good thing, and it shows respect with everyone involved. The seniors, I think, feel good about themselves that they can give a little when a lot of them are needy in their own way. It is something for them to do to contribute.”

For more information on making a donation, call the Berkley Senior Center at (248) 658-3470 or NorthPointe Foot & Ankle at (248) 545-0100.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Joshua Gordon at jgordon@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1077.