Ever since Max Frost was eight-years-old, he’s gained notice throughout Hamilton as “the coat kid.”
It has become his mission to collect and donate as many coats as he can so those in need can have a warmer winter. Frost gained his nickname around Hamilton after appearing on “Good Morning America” a few times for donating coats as a part of Burlington Coat Factory’s Warm Coats and Warm Hearts drive.
Now 12 years old, Frost has entered the new year hitting a personal milestone—he has collected 2,500 since he began in 2015. In 2019 alone, he has collected around 400 coats.
Frost donates his coats throughout the Mercer County area through a local Burlington store and other local organizations that help distribute them.
“With these coats, he is doing a great thing,” says Hamilton resident Brian Blakely of Jerusalem Baptist Church. “It’s amazing that he is at this age doing community service.”
Frost recently donated over 100 coats to Blakely, who distributes winter garments in need throughout Mercer County through the Jerusalem Baptist Church. Blakely said he gave 30 children’s coats that Frost gave him to Lawrence-based Homefront, for example.
The rest of Max’s coats will be distributed at the Trenton train station, where Blakely often helps give coats, hats, gloves, and blankets to those in need.
“When a kid starts off like that, they’ll grow up becoming a more conscientious person,” says Blakely, who added that he will continue to work with Frost and his mother, Tammy, in the future.
The Frosts often have their basement full of coats to donate, and coats routinely pop up elsewhere around the house, too.
“People kind of know me as the kid who collects coats in the area,” Frost says. “A lot of people drop off the coats on my front porch, and most of the time I don’t know who. They just leave them there.”
All year, Tammy says that people come and drop off coats on their front porch and by their garage, which she has no choice but to put in the basement.
“By September and October, it gets to be a lot,” Tammy says. “We get the most coats during fall/early winter as people are cleaning out their closets. People don’t even tell us who they are so we can’t properly thank them.”
Frost’s journey collecting coats began with the simple desire to help others after he became inspired watching Good Morning America when he saw the kickoff for the Warm Coats and Warm Hearts drive.
“It makes me realize how fortunate I am and how one coat can help someone so much.”
“He saw kids come on to put coats in their box and then said, ‘I want to help people too,’” Tammy said.
Tammy shared a Facebook post with her son’s mission and the hashtag #giveacoat as he began collecting.
To her surprise, she eventually ended up being contacted by a producer for Good Morning America, who wanted Frost to come on the show in 2015 after he had collected around 170 coats his first year.
“It makes me realize how fortunate I am and how one coat can help someone so much,” Frost said.
His second year, he collected around 400 coats and was invited back to appear on the show with GMA anchor Robin Roberts on Christmas Day with other children who had collected coats.
“I didnt even dream about getting on GMA,” Frost says. “I just tried to help people.”
Frost has been able to collect coats ranging from infant size to adult size after being on GMA, Frost’s efforts shared on social media, and support from neighbors and friends in the community.
Sabrina LaRagione, a certified yoga instructor, held a free yoga class at Front and Center Dance Studio on Route 33 in Hamilton Dec. 29 for all those who brought coats for Frost’s drive.
Frost will continue collecting for the Burlington store and sees himself continuing his mission to collect coats for those in need in the upcoming years.
“We never expected this,” Tammy said. “It went from Max wanting people to stay warm to 2,500 coats.”
When he isn’t collecting coats, Frost enjoys playing a range of different sports such as soccer, basketball, and lacrosse.
For 2020, Frost has set a goal to collect around 600-650 coats.