NewsChannel 3 and Ynot Pizza and Italian Cuisine are shining the spotlight on students taking action in their schools and communities.
Two Virginia Beach brothers are on a mission to lend a helping hand and a warm coat.
14-year-old Joseph Deneke and his 10-year-old brother, Foster, have busy schedules.
Joseph is a drummer in the First Colonial High School drum line. Foster swims for Tide Swim Club. The Kingston Elementary School 5th grader also plays the cello and bass. But it's what they do outside of school that inspired a neighbor to nominate the brothers for a Students Taking Action Award.
“We sent out a message to all of our friends and they sent us gently used or new coats,” Foster said. “We collect them and send them to the Salvation Army.”
The boys delivered a letter to neighbors with a simple message: "No one deserves to be cold in the Winter."
They got results. They recently dropped off dozens of coats to the Salvation Army. This is the sixth year of their neighborhood coat drive.
“If you have coats to bring in, that would help a lot because they're down this year on coat amounts, so it would help a lot,” Joseph said.
They started the coat drive in Virginia Beach, continued to take action while the family lived in Italy for a few years, and when they returned over the summer, the boys picked back up where they left off. Joseph and Foster estimate they've collected around 400 coats over six years
“My wife and I are trying to instill in the boys to give something back to the more needy people,” said Bernie Deneke, their father.
“We thought it would be a great idea to give to the people who aren't as fortunate as us, and it's just a nice thing to do,” Joseph said.
NewsChannel 3 and Ynot surprised the boys with a $100 savings bond, Students Taking Action medals and a gift certificate to Ynot.