HONESDALE — Residents are reminded that Grace Church Parish Hall on 827 Church Street offers a reprieve from the chill in the form of their annual Cold-Weather Gear Project.
Given the temperature's taper toward the single-digits, the winter clothing drive has already met with great success since its inception this October, said Sue Erb, the program's volunteer facilitator.
So far this year, the program has handed out over 375 coats and heavy hoodies in adult and child sizes.
“In previous years, the requests were mostly for adults,” said Erb, “This year, we got a lot of requests for kids coats.”
This number towers over last year's total distribution of 250 coats, states a release.
This year's winter gear project has also disseminated over 120 blankets, as well as numerous hats, gloves, scarves, socks, snowpants and boots.
“You can see the legitimate need …” noted Erb of the gear project, noting stories of those who have made use of the program over the years.
Clothing is arranged on self-serve racks in the parish hall for those in need to come and take during open hours from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The racks will remain out until at least February, said Erb, ensuring availability throughout the cold season.
Facilitating the drive are donations made by caring individuals in the area.
“The community has been very generous this year,” said Erb, noting the abundant donations received so far.
Grace Church is still collecting donations for the drive.
Those willing and able are encouraged to donate clean warm weather supplies to help keep stocks up for the duration of the gear project's run.
According to Erb, items most in need this year are plus-sized coats for men and women, and children's coats.
Other warm weather items in need are hoodies, gloves for all ages and genders, men's hats, and heavy socks.
Waterproof winter gear is especially helpful, said Erb.
Donors are asked to refrain from giving ordinary everyday clothes, as the church does not run a formal donation drive for such materials has a limited number of storage space and workers to handle the excess.
Erb mentioned there are such clothing drives run by other parishes and organizations, such as the Abraham House at the Presbyterian church, where such donations are welcome.
Grace Church is also accepting non-perishable food items including canned goods, peanut butter, cereal, oatmeal packets and other such stock.
Hand warmers, baby wipes, clean blankets, tissues and toiletries are also welcome donations.
Those wishing to help can also make monetary donations to Grace Church's “Warmth in the Night” program.
This program allows the church to provide the homeless a limited number of motel vouchers when the temperature dips below freezing.
Such donations should contain “Warmth in the Night” written on the check's memo line and be made payable to Grace Episcopal Church.
In addition to donation aggregation and dissemination, Grace Church is chock full of other community outreach activities including hosting numerous 12-step meetings, free holiday dinners, Saturday community luncheons, a large Cub Scout program, and a new Boy Scout Venture Crew program.
The church also serves as the base of operations for Habitat for Humanity and the Stourbridge Model Railroad Club and myriad other organizational gatherings.
To help fund these services, Grace Church recently launched a community financial appeal requesting aid from the public.
Those interested in helping the congregation continue to provide its services are asked to donate checks to Grace Episcopal Church tagged with “Grace Church Appeal” in the memo line.
Additional information about the cold-weather gear giveaway or any other church programs is available by calling the Parish Hall at 570-253-2760.
—Information from a release was used in this story.