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International students from South Bend school start coat drive for peers

International students from South Bend school start coat drive for peers. // WSBT 22

You probably have those hats and gloves handy.

Winter is here to stay! But some people don't have the proper attire.

WSBT 22 spoke with a group that's helping fill that need.

It's a group of international students at John Adams High School. They've come up with a way to keep their peers warm this winter.

We're only a few official days into winter and it's almost a guarantee the freezing temperatures, wind chill and lake effect snow are here to stay.

While most of us are prepared for the cold, those new to the area may not be.

For the past two and a half years, Ysbelax Rondon has called South Bend home.

Before that, the junior at Adams High lived in Venezuela.

Winters we're not quite as rough.

She says, she knows how it feels to not be ready for winter. That's why she's helping her peers bundle up.

“The coat drive. It's for the homeless center and for those that don't have the right supplies for the winter now. Most for the people that is new here to America and to help out people and it's very nice for us to do it so why not," said Rondon.

Johnathan Nganji is from Burundi Africa and saw snow for the first time when he moved to the United States. He says he can handle the harsh weather, but others can't.

“The way I see kids around the school even when it's above 40 degrees, they say it's cold and they're freezing so I say this coat drive is helpful to some people to everyone, because sometimes it gets colder and you need a jacket,” said Nganji.

That's when he knew something needed to be done.

“I talked to Mr. Rivera about how can we do it and he loved some ideas. I told him I can get the guys to execute the work and then he said alright let's get it done," said Nganji.

The International Students organization is the school group behind the coat drive.

Advisor Savino Rivera says it's the students that are heading the mission.

“It was put together by all of our students because we used to get a lot of students around that area that did not have, and we had the idea to give back some way somehow," said Rivera.

With around 400 international students, many from warmer climates, Rivera says some just don't have the proper attire.

“We get students who come in and won't really admit that they're in need so you just kind of tap them on the shoulder and let them know and say, ‘hey I notice you're outside and I notice you only have a long sleeve shirt on or maybe even a short sleeve,’ and as an adult or someone who works in the building, you kind of take to that very quickly and you say you know what I need to fix this situation," said Rivera.

Friends from different countries, cultures and continents and there is still a lot these two can agree on.

“It was amazing actually. It's amazing to see that you're actually helping somebody," said Rondon.

“I love helping others and it's just something that makes me feel happy,” sadi Nganji.

Six boxes were placed around the school.

In a few weeks time, they were filled with coats, hats gloves, sweaters and more.

All of the extra clothing collected that is not needed for the students, will go to a local shelter.

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