Ruben Diaz wants to improve lottery odds


The odds of winning the lottery aren’t good. Yet, thousands of people play state lottery games, even if they don’t really have the money to do so.

Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., has called for an overhaul of New York’s lottery system, from lowering the availability of ticket sales in more vulnerable communities, to ensuring proceeds from such sales make their way back to these troubled communities.

“The lottery has grown exponentially since its establishment, and the state regulations overseeing that sector must be adapted to how it exists today,” Diaz said, in a release.

“We can’t turn a blind eye to state lotteries targeting low-income and minority communities, and the systems should be changed to help limit the harm that vulnerable people experience because of them.”

Nationally, lower-income people are more likely to play the lottery than those with higher income. Nearly 30 percent of people earning less than $30,000 a year play the lottery at least weekly, according to Diaz, compared to just 18 percent of those earning more than $75,000.

Additionally, lower income people spend a disproportionate amount of their incomes on the lottery.

“Low-income communities generate much of the lottery’s revenue, but they don’t receive benefits proportionate to their patronage of the system,” Diaz said. “That money should be spent to support low-income students with specific programs in schools that are aimed at the alleviation of poverty in both the short and long terms.”


Donate some of those old winter coats

It’s getting cold outside, and members of Welcoming Neighbors Northwest Bronx want to ensure some of the less fortunate have a chance to stay warm.

The group — which works closely with Broadway Family Plaza, the transitional apartment community for formerly homeless families — is collecting clean, gently used winter coats.

All sizes are sought, from infants to adults.

Donations can be dropped off at the plaza security desk, 5731 Broadway, every day between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., until Tuesday, Dec. 17.

For more information, email


Santa gets a little extra help this year

The U.S. Postal Service handles thousands of letters each year addressed to Santa Claus, but this year its expanded efforts to help makes gift wishes from needy children come true.

Partnering with the Be An Elf charity, the postal service is making Santa letters available nationwide through the website

There, letters can be read and “adopted,” with any gifts donated forwarded directly to the original author of the letter.

Gifts must be mailed by Dec. 20, however, so they arrive in time for Christmas.

Be An Elf was founded by Patrick Reynolds, grandson of tobacco company founder R.J. Reynolds, but became a smoke-free advocate after his father died from a smoking-related illness, fighting against companies like the one started by his family.

Learn more at