Great start Liam!
Winter Coat Drive
But it’s so nice outside!?!?
Update from December 2012 - I am now in 9th grade at Cambridge High School in Milton, Georgia and the coat drive is in its third year. Since 2010, this little coat drive has collected and distributed over 500 winter coats, nearly 700 pairs of new socks, dozens of blankets, hats gloves, and countless toiletries. My sister, Maggie (a senior at Cambridge), and I have also run a used backpack collection at the end of the school year for the past several years. All of these items are distributed directly by us and the outstanding volunteers at St. Francis Table Soup Kitchen. I wish there was some way for you to understand just how much the homeless appreciate your donations. To see grown men and women shed tears of joy at getting a warm coats, or a pair of socks, or a backpack to carry their belongings (instead of a plastic supermarket bag) is an absolutely amazing experience.
While you think of winter coats when it's cold, please feel free to contact me any time of the year. We keep them in our basement until it gets colder.
And, if you are ever out and about and you see an amazing deal on winter coats and would like to buy one or two to donate, I have learned that the bigger and darker the better. Even the thinnest men and women seem to prefer XLs, 2XLs or even 3XLs because they can layer. And dark, whether it is coats, backpacks, socks, is preferred because it hides the dirt.
Thank you so much for your support. The homeless of Atlanta truly appreciate your generousity.
From 2010 - My name is Liam Nugent. I am in 7th grade at Hopewell Middle School in Alpharetta, Georgia. As part of the Junior Beta Club, I was required to volunteer ten hours over the summer. In early June, I went to St. Francis Table, a soup kitchen near The Underground run in the basement of a church. After two weeks there, I had my ten hours in. However, every weekend that I can, I still continue to go. It’s hard work sometimes – setting up the hall, scrubbing the chairs and tables, greeting the guests, cutting the meat, serving the soup or drinks, wiping the tables, breaking down the tables and chairs at the end. But, it is very rewarding. You really feel like you have made a difference. Most of the people truly do appreciate it.
You see some of the same people week after week. Most are alone, but know each other from the streets. Occasionally, you get a family (but I think they are handled in other shelters). There was one day over the summer when it was about 90 degrees at 10:00 when the doors opened. A couple, they must have been in their late seventies, came into the little room that they come into before the main hall. There is a little bit of air conditioning out there, but not much. Anyway, they are arm in arm, like they are going out to a nice brunch. He pulls out a ratty, old cloth handkerchief and wipes the sweat off of his wife’s forehead. It was a moment that stuck with me. It really makes you think about how this can happen to anyone. And, it really makes you appreciate what you have.
Back to the coats. In the summer, only the occasional few moments in air conditioning can help with the heat. But, in the winter, we can all help with winter coats. It truly can make a difference between living and dying. Think about that. You can make that kind of difference.
I have seen winter coat drives before and never really thought about them. Now I have and I would like to try to collect as many coats as possible. Hopefully, enough to give everyone who comes through the soup kitchen on the first really cold Saturday this year (they usually get 400-500 people). So, instead of waiting until that Saturday to start the drive, I thought I would start now so that they can be ready when it is cold.
So, I am asking you to consider donating a winter coat. It doesn’t have to be new (they appreciate the items for how useful it can be, not necessarily what it looks like). What I am really hoping to collect is adult medium and above size coats for two reasons. One is that most of the people that come through St. Francis Table are adults and, two, with medium and above, they can layer. If there are a couple of 3 or even 4XLs, that would work too. (There’s one gentleman that must be 6’ 8” and he wears oily, padded mechanics coveralls even in the heat of summer).
If you don’t have a coat to donate or cannot find a new one within your budget, socks are an outstanding alternative. They truly are thrilled to receive a fresh pair of socks. Costco sells packs of 12 for about $12. Or, if you would prefer to write a check to St. Francis Table, that would be great too. They buy their food from the Atlanta Food Bank at $1 per pound, so they can use money for that. And they also open the basement as a night shelter during the winter, so I guess it could help with utilities and the mats they sleep on.
If you have coats or socks, please contact me through my dad's email at (or on the contact page - but the security codes aren't always easy to get right!) and we can either come pick them up or give you our address to drop them off. We will store the coats in our basement until it’s time to take it to the soup kitchen.
Thank you very much for considering a donation. I can guarantee that the recipients of your generosity will truly appreciate it.
Information about St. Francis Table can be found at http://www.catholicshrineatlanta.org/shrine/saintfrancis.html.