Genuine warmth in Suffolk

Published 8:02 pm Wednesday, January 8, 2020

What does it mean to be a warm and welcoming city? A city where everybody values their neighbors and their needs, where everybody helps others without regard to the lines that sometimes divide us, and where everyone makes a conscious attempt to release their self-serving nature and become more altruistic to others?

We can’t say Suffolk is quite there yet; after all, there is a lot of negativity in this world, even in Suffolk. The utopia described above will never actually exist on this earth as we know it.

But we do think Suffolk comes close to that a vast majority of the time. A couple of recent events give us renewed hope to think so by providing genuine warmth — both literal and figurative — for those in need.

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On Saturday, the League of Extraordinary Men from Norfolk State University held “The Warm Up” in several local cities, including Suffolk. Hosted in Suffolk by Ryan’s Steaks and Cakes, the event featured a group of volunteers who had collected gently used clothing, coats and more to give away. They then helped a steady stream of people who came to the downtown eatery to get needed items.

On Saturday and Monday, Suffolk Christian Church was doing something similar, giving away gently used coats, hats, scarves, gloves and other winter items. More than two dozen volunteers helped there as well, and it has become a tradition so well known that people drop off coats they no longer need all year long at the church.

Best of all, the two events promoted each other on Saturday, making sure that people in need who showed up at one event knew they could go to the other event if they needed more or couldn’t find what they were looking for.

We call that a successful Saturday, and it’s hardly out of the ordinary for this giving community.

While nobody is perfect and no place is perfect, events like these make Suffolk a better place to live, to visit and to do business.