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Serving ‘the least of these’

When the really cold weather hits, most folks in Suffolk are able to stay inside and crank up the heat. When they do have somewhere to go, most have at least a couple of coats to choose from to help keep them safe from the elements.

But there are many in our community who unfortunately do not have a home to go to or even a coat to put on. Thankfully, there are a number of churches in the community working to make sure our friends and neighbors can stay warm as much as possible this winter.

On today’s front page, you’ll find a story about the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk’s Night Stay program. This program has been going for several years and features a number of churches cooperating to provide a place to stay at night during the winter for people who otherwise would be finding meager shelter out of doors.

The program also offers meals, showers and necessities for those who attend the program. More churches and volunteers are always needed as part of the program, and volunteers can help in the areas of transportation, providing meals and staying overnight at the host church, to name a few.

Over at Suffolk Christian Church, they are in their 28th year for their annual coat giveaway, which is coming up this Saturday and Monday at 216 N. Main St. — none too soon for this terrific cold snap we have had.

Every year, the church gives away hundreds of coats along with hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and sweaters.

The church has learned from past events to improve the coat giveaway. They used to hold the event in the fall, before the onset of frigid temperatures, but they found that few people came to get coats when it wasn’t really that cold out. They also now hold the giveaway on two days after learning that having two opportunities for people to come by improved attendance.

Jesus told His followers, recorded in the gospel of Matthew, that what they do for “the least of these” is as if they did it for Him.

“I was a stranger and you invited me in,” He said. “I needed clothes and you clothed me … Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Both of these programs happening in Suffolk are serving people who have the least and, therefore, are serving God mightily. We encourage all to support these programs in any way they can.