“We are getting out in the community and telling people about Jesus,” says Jerry Swain, an elder of Winchester Grace Church, a Charis Fellowship congregation in Winchester, Va. (Kevin Mincey, lead pastor).
On November 2 the congregation hosted their third annual winter coat distribution.
The idea was birthed from the men’s ministry in 2017 when they noticed a need for winter coats for the homeless and impoverished areas of Winchester. Partnering with the Salvation Army that year, they were able to collected and distributed 150 coats. The event proved to be successful and the following year, in 2018 they were able to collected and distributed 300 coats.
The church begins their donation process right after Labor Day. They collect from garage sales as well as donations from congregants and community members.
This year, they collected 400 coats. Prior to November 2, Winchester Grace partnered with their local newspaper, radio station, and several online news sources to get the word out along with distributing flyers in the weeks prior.
“It’s a huge group effort,” says Jerry. “This year we had somewhere between 25-30 volunteers help with advertising, setting up, and handing out the coats. Our youth group is also highly involved in the process.”
On November 2, they set up tables filled with coats at a local park and distributed nearly all of the items to those in need. The remaining coats are donated to other organizations in the area who will in turn give them out this season.
The church is already making plans for next year’s coat distribution. They hope to make it an even larger community event which would include serving refreshments and other activities with hopes of drawing in more people who are in need.
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