Beverly McGahee shows some of the coats that will be available on Saturday during the 24th annual “Coats for the Community” event at Suffolk Christian Church. Hundreds of new and gently used coats have been collected to give out during the event, along with a limited number of sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves and mittens. (Tracy Agnew/Suffolk News-Herald)
Beverly McGahee shows some of the coats that will be available on Saturday during the 24th annual “Coats for the Community” event at Suffolk Christian Church. Hundreds of new and gently used coats have been collected to give out during the event, along with a limited number of sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves and mittens. (Tracy Agnew/Suffolk News-Herald)

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Coat giveaway set for Saturday

Published 10:31pm Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cold temperatures and the corresponding coats are staples of winter, but some folks in Suffolk might find the household budget too pinched to be able to afford warm outerwear this year.

Suffolk Christian Church has a solution. The congregation has gathered hundreds of new and gently used coats and will hand them out on a first-come, first-served basis on Saturday.

This is the 24th year of the “Coats for the Community” ministry at the church. Volunteer Beverly McGahee said the entire church participates.

“We have participation and donations from all over the church,” she said.

New coats are sometimes donated, and cash is often donated to buy coats at the stores. In addition, many members of the church and community turn in gently used coats to be reused.

Tom Williams of Quality Cleaners provides his services for free on the items that need sprucing up, McGahee said.

“It’s his way to participate in the ministry, and we really appreciate that,” she said.

Twenty-four years ago, the ministry started out just with children’s coats, but that soon changed, she said.

“We started just trying to do children, but we quickly found out the adults who were bringing the children needed coats too,” McGahee said.

She added the giveaway is done in January, because they usually get more people that way.

“We used to distribute in November or December, but we had a spell where we didn’t have that many people coming to get coats,” McGahee said. “Sometimes in November and December it wasn’t that cold. People didn’t have it on their minds.”

Men’s, women’s and children’s coats in all sizes and colors will be available. A limited number of sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves and mittens also are available.

The church is located at 216 N. Main St. and will open for the giveaway from 9 to 11 a.m. Anyone is welcome, McGahee said.

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