Give a little bit
To donate canned goods, coats or help out in other ways, call Irene Myers at 570-3344 or Kathie Murphy at 876-2744.
The members of St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church believe year round in the spirit of giving, whether that means providing a meal to a homeless person or putting a shivering child in a jacket.
“If you’re a Christian, giving is just something you should do,” church member Larry Hyatt said.
Six years ago, he and his wife Theresa found out from St. Phillip’s outreach coordinator Kathie Murphy that children without coats and jackets had been seen standing at school bus stops in the
As a result, they started working with Murphy to provide outerwear to those in need.
“We’ve given out over 40 jackets this year already, [and] the week of Christmas, that phone doesn’t stop ringing,” Murphy said. “Can you imagine being outside with no jackets in this weather?”
Over the years, the couple has supplied hundreds of coats, and Murphy made sure the donations were received by children in need.
“None of this would happen without these peoples’ generosity,” Murphy said.
Sometimes she spots children outside with no jackets; sometimes she receives phone calls about families who can’t afford warm clothing for their children.
“She works in the community and knows folks who may be outside the system and who have a need, and that’s how it started,” Hyatt said. “She mentioned kids without coats and I just said, ‘Kids shouldn’t go without coats.’”
Each year, the Hyatts said, they go shopping — usually during post-Thanksgiving sales — and buy discounted coats, which they store in plastic bins inside their garage until a cold snap hits.
Murphy said as long as the couple supplies the outerwear, she’s happy to deliver the donations to those in need — from toddlers to teenagers.
If she notices a student at a bus stop who isn’t dressed for the weather, she stops and hands them a jacket — with the tags still attached — and her business card, which reads, “If you’re ever able, pass it on.”
Some parents’ financial situations are so tight they must choose between paying bills and buying clothing, Hyatt said, and sometimes the choice is to keep the electricity on instead of making sure their children are adequately bundled because they simply cannot afford both.
“There is a feeling that you get from doing it and I get something from it as well,” he said. “The bad side of this is I don’t get to see that — I would love to see the expression on the kid and parent’s face. I understand there may be a need for me not to be more involved than I am. (But) I know someone will be warmer (as a result).”
In addition to warming children during the holidays, St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church members also host a toy giveaway for needy families. All donations are collected by a local woman who calls herself Mama Irene. She has been facilitating the event for years.
This Saturday, the church will open its education center at 9 a.m. for the toy drive. Needy families will be able to select two toys per child, Myers said.
In order to stock the church’s food pantry, congregants will show Handel’s Messiah at 7 p.m. Saturday. The doors open at 6:30. During intermission, attendees will enjoy free refreshments.
In lieu of admission fees, guests are encouraged to bring canned goods for the church’s food pantry, which feeds several families each week.
“Any kind of canned goods (are needed),” Murphy said, “and if they want to bring dog food, we’ll donate that to the humane shelter.”