FRASER, Mich. (WXYZ) - The sight inside Fraser High School on Tuesday was quite amazing.
Students spent the past few weeks gathering new, and gently-used, coats for an annual coat drive put on by the Detroit Lions’ wide receiver Golden Tate. On Tuesday, as a reward for gathering more than 1,000 coats Tate made a personal visit to greet the classroom that brought in the most coats.
“I’m impressed,” said Tate. “I’m proud to be a part of it, and so thankful that everyone pitched in and did their part.”
Tate and his fiancé started the coat drive last year after she met someone on an airplane and struck up a conversation about the need for coats in the inner-city. Elise Pollard, Tate’s fiancé, told 7 Action News that the woman explained that at a pre-school up the road from her parents would sometimes keep their kids home from school during the coldest days because they didn’t have warm coats.
“That idea is really overwhelming,” said Pollard. “We live in a school and we see all the kids running around.”
Faced with the idea that other kids were struggling, Pollard and Tate decided to branch out his organization designed to help veterans. The coats collected by people like the students at Fraser High School will go to younger children, but the coats big enough for adults will go back to veterans who need them.
The two said giving back is something they’re called to do. Tate said he felt it was his second calling.
“It’s just a blessing to be in the situation that I’m in to give back and also do what I love,” said Tate.
For the kids who collected the coats, they admitted being torn between the pride of doing something important for those in need and meeting a star NFL player.
“I mean, it’s evident which one is better,” said Fraser High junior Keenan Penn II. “It’s pretty cool to meet Golden Tate, he’s a really cool guy. But in the end you have that warm feeling inside knowing you did something good.”
Samantha Nork, a senior who serves as President of the Quill and Scroll Honors Journalism society, helped organize the coat drive. She, like Penn, said meeting Tate was fun. However, what impressed her the most was watching her fellow students step up and do something powerful for others.
“It’s cool to know the people you go to school with actually care enough to donate all these coats to kids that really need them,” said Nork.
She added: “Of course, it’s cool that Tate will come here to promote it and everything.”
It’s something that the students said will change the way they look at Tate on the football field. A handful of kids said they were already big fans, but knowing that he spends his free time helping others gives them new reason to get excited about a local player.
“I was already a fan,” said Penn, “but now, I’ve got a new reason to cheer.”
The Golden Future Foundation was founded in 2014 by Golden Tate. He uses Golden Future Foundation to serve as a platform to create positive impact on the community, and to honor veterans, or as the foundation calls them American heroes, who are often overlooked.