Nick and Mike Fiorito, two brothers from Bay Ridge, started a program called “Blankets of Hope,” which donates blankets and a handwritten note to homeless New Yorkers. It all started when Nick, now 25, walked through Madison Square Park everyday on his way to work and saw a homeless man needing help.
“I told myself I was going to do something about it, but getting to work, my to-do list, would take over,” he said.
A few years later, Nick pursued an entrepreneurial career and convinced his younger brother to join him. They started their own social media company, and thanks to the backing of venture capitalists from California, they raised money to buy blankets to distribute.
In addition to handing out blankets, the brothers also create videos documenting their experience. The handwritten notes, they said, shows some extra attention to people who often feel lost and out of society.
“It’s a simple message that says we don’t know what they’re going through right now, because we were never in their position, but we just want them to know people care about them and we believe in them,” Nick said. “Just sitting down with them for a couple of minutes, being able to speak to them, is a humanizing thing.”
The social entrepreneurs were honored as heroes of the month in Brooklyn. But their humbling response was that the people who donate and survive on the streets every night are the true heroes.
The Fioritos hope that their actions can lead to more care and compassion for the homeless.
“It shows that a small act can go a long way,” Nick said. “Hopefully it inspires other people to go out and do a little thing.”