Community supports church coat giveaway

Published 9:33 pm Monday, January 6, 2020

Families visited the fellowship hall at Suffolk Christian Church on Saturday and Monday to get warm, winter clothes during the church’s 30th annual “Coats for the Community” winter clothing drive. The distribution drive included coats, scarves, hats, gloves, sweaters and lightweight jackets for all ages.

Suffolk resident Julie Jones perused through racks and tables inside the fellowship hall Monday to get clothes for her husband and niece, plus herself. Her finds included a well-kept London Fog coat, and a Crown & Ivy coat in navy blue and white.

“You find very good, quality things,” Jones said.

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More than two dozen volunteers assisted in this year’s coat drive held on Saturday and Monday, starting with setting up the fellowship hall Thursday night.

“All of us who volunteer realize we get more out of it normally than the people who come to get the coats, because it’s very heartwarming to know you’re helping a family, and you’re helping somebody stay warm,” said Barbara McGahee, a volunteer and member of Suffolk Christian Church.

It’s a church-wide effort that’s supported by many throughout the Suffolk community. McGahee said people have shown up at the church door with bags of brand-new coats and that churches and schools have also collected for the drive this year.

“We had over 1,100 coats,” McGahee said, “so that’s quite indicative of the community support for the project.”

Between both distributions on Saturday and Monday, the church was able to give much-needed winter clothes to at least 100 families. That includes more than 300 coats on Saturday, plus the sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves and mittens distributed on both days.

“This year we’ve had a lot of people on Saturday, and we’ve had a steady stream of community people come in today to get coats, so it’s been a good year,” McGahee said.

The project first began with the Suffolk Christian Church Adult Sunday School class to provide coats to needy children. Suffolk Christian Church first partnered with the Salvation Army in 1990 to provide coats to children, and adults were later added as the mission grew.

It’s now a project that’s supported by both church members and the rest of the Suffolk community year-round.

“We just appreciate the community support,” McGahee said. “We have people that deliver coats to us all year long, and we accept coats all year long. We’ve done it long enough that people are aware of it and we get a lot of support, and we want to thank the community for that support.”

Suffolk Christian Church is located at 216 N. Main St. Call the church office at 539-9182 for more information, or visit