DRACUT, Mass. (AP) — He’s been warming hearts — and hundreds of bodies — since eighth grade.
On Dec. 30, Alex Corcoran, a Dracut High School junior, reached a new four-year record total of new and gently-used blankets collected for the area’s needy of 307.
That makes a running total of 890 blankets that Corcoran has been able to donate to The Wish Project of Lowell, hospitals and other local charities and organizations.
By next Christmas in his senior year at Dracut High, Corcoran hopes to break the 1,000-blanket barrier, by again relying on the generous donations of students and staff of Lakeview Junior High, Dracut High, St. Francis Church parishioners, his Boy Scout troop, family, friends and area residents.
“Although the economy is slowly improving, some families are still struggling. A small donation, such as a blanket, can make a difference to people who are less fortunate,” Corcoran wrote on the website and Facebook page he maintains year-round for the blanket drive.
The donors came through with donations of blankets, or cash that Corcoran used to purchase what turned out to be a new record total.
“The first year, it started as a National Junior Honor Society project, and my goal was 75 blankets. I got 183,” recalled Corcoran, who is president of his junior class at Dracut High. “I realized this was kind of a big deal, and a real need in the area, so I decided to keep it going.”
As a freshman, Corcoran was blanketed in the generosity of donors another 180 times; as a sophomore, 220; before amassing 307 this Christmas, just in time to combat the Polar Vortex-driven deep freeze.
Corcoran said he’s very grateful to the many donors who continue to help him accomplish his blanket goals each year, and first-time donors who helped out this Christmas.
In addition to serving as class president, Corcoran is an honor-roll student, member of the school’s Drama Club, and cross country and track teams, and works at Market Basket.
All that and yet Alex makes time, too, to organize the Blanket Drive, notes his proud aunt, Nancy Toland, of Tewksbury.
“It’s not too often you find a teenager that is willing to dedicate his time to helping others,” Toland said. “He is a remarkable young man.”
News of Corcoran’s new Blanket Drive record follows closely on the heels of Dracut selectmen formally recognizing “Giving Tree” founder, Skylar Unger, 13 and “Dracut Food Pantry Superhero,” Eva Laffin, 9, at the board’s first meeting of 2014 this month.
“It seems like Dracut is exceptional for its many generous and caring people,” said Selectman Joe DiRocco after Laffin and Unger were honored. “That’s what it’s all about.”
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