Because They Matter: Coat Drive For The Homeless
This past Christmas, one of our generosity groups had an opportunity to donate and serve with Operation Nightwatch as they handed out coats to the ever increasing homeless population in Seattle. Through the use of a generosity grant, Chuck Talburt’s Generosity Group was able to buy coats and other supplies. The purchasing of the coats turned into a ministry opportunity in and of itself as they were able to tell the clerk at Sears who the coats and socks were for. The clerk even took 25% off of the total price!
“The conversations we have when we purchase [the coats] are the best part of the process. Sometimes people have even given us money to purchase an additional coat or some socks. So between our small group and the generosity fund, we were able to purchase 52 coats of the total 75 we collected.” – Chuck Talburt
Evie Reynolds shares her experience handing out the coats and getting a refreshing and humbling perspective of who Jesus is and how He loves:
Last Christmas Jimmy and I heard about the coat drive for the homeless through our generosity group. Always willing to “help those in need”, we gladly contributed, trusting that the people behind this cause would distribute them accordingly. Then, we were invited to actually go down to Operation Nightwatch on Christmas Day night to hand them out. (Wait, isn’t Rainier Ave South a bit sketchy? And on Christmas?) However, we had no specific plans for that evening, so we agreed to go. Our youngest daughter, home from college on break, accompanied us.
It is hard to describe how this experience filled up our hearts and altered our perspective on homelessness. We watched at least one hundred and thirty people—people made in God’s image– walk in from the cold sidewalk, faces etched with years of street living, hopeless and despondent. These people truly are the least, the last, and the lost. Their lives are a day to day survival with no real plans or dreams for the future, and certainly no gathering around a Christmas tree or dinner table with family. As we handed each person a new coat, I could see some of those faces turn into smiles of gratitude.
Several of the homeless men said to me “You could be anywhere else. Why are you here on Christmas?” What a privilege it was to respond with, “Because you matter. We care about you.”
Wow! It was so humbling to realize that Jesus spent His years on earth with people such as these, and that but for His grace and mercy and generosity to me I could be in their place.
A warm coat can make such a difference for a person living on the streets of our city! It is one way to be the hands and feet and warmth and generosity of our King Jesus during this busy season of so much buying, giving and getting. For me, I’m sure I have never spent a more meaningful Christmas anywhere. On the way home our daughter said, “That was pretty cool.”
Imprint gives out generosity grants for all kinds of projects and causes. See how your group can apply for one here!