There are more than 60,000 homeless people in New York City. Our latest Queens Person of the Week is doing what he can to bring warmth and kindness to those living on the streets. NY1's Leisha Majtan filed this report.
A freezing cold February day would keep most New Yorkers inside, but not Michael Zezima. In fact, it's when he does most of his work.
"Could you use a better jacket than that," said Zezima, NY1's Queens Person of the Week, to a homeless woman near Madison Square Garden.
Almost every day, Zezima can be found walking around Midtown Manhattan and Union Square handing out care packages and warm clothing to homeless women.
"Homeless women are straight-up invisible. This is an issue, as a New Yorker, that I feel that I want to do my part. It's just being useful. It's being helpful. It's making a difference right there on the spot," said Zezima.
It’s a project Zezima started last fall.
The Astoria resident says he's always been an activist for various causes. But it wasn't until he started helping people on the street that he began to realize how much face-to-face interaction means to those he's trying to help.
"When someone does something like a direct action like this they would say "well that's great you're helping that one woman but you're not challenging homelessness." And I say, well ask that one woman how that feels," Zezima said.
Out of his own pocket, the Zezima purchases items women living on the street need most - coats, toiletries, and packaged food.
But Zezima recently launched a “GoFundMe” page to expand his efforts.
He hopes to reach even more homeless women across the City.
"If I had the formula to have economic equality in the United States, believe me, I would have spoke up right now," said Zezima. "But this is what I can do."
And he wants to inspire others to do just the same.
"It would be a dream come true if people heard about this project, great! I would love donations, I would love help. But it would be even better if they said 'hey, I can do that too,'" Zezima said.
And so, for pounding the pavement to help rebuild the confidence of women in need, Michael Zezima is our Queens Person of the Week.
For more information about Michael's efforts, visit http://www.gofundme.com/helping-homeless-women-in-nyc-2ukpuh56