Student Leads Coat Drive

    An East Hampton High School sophomore has organized a coat drive to provide for needy visitors to the Amagansett Food Pantry. Michael Mata has asked donors to stop by the Amagansett Firehouse at any point this winter and drop off gently used outerwear in a box marked for the coat drive. He has been distributing the coats at the food pantry, where he has volunteered for the past two years. Coats can also be dropped off at the Amagansett satellite of the East Hampton Food Pantry at Scoville Hall, 17 Meeting House Lane, on Tuesdays from 2 to 4 p.m.

    In the past three weeks, Michael said, he has collected hundreds of coats, with no plans of stopping. He has been advertising the drive on Facebook and by word of mouth.

    The 15-year-old is carrying on a family tradition in community service — an older brother, Nicholas, has worked with Habitat for Humanity, and his father is a member of the Amagansett Fire Department who also volunteers at the pantry.

    On May 1, Michael was in a dirt bike accident that severely injured his left foot. He spent nearly a month in the hospital and has undergone a number of surgeries since then, with another scheduled for tomorrow. Throughout the ordeal, he was surprised that strangers and classmates from high school had reached out to write letters and wish him well.

    The experience, he said, made him want to help others more than ever. At the food pantry, “when people came in, I could see they needed coats. A lot of people were showing up in short sleeves.”