Church drive looks past coats

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Lorraine Weingates, who organized a drive for hats, gloves, socks and scarves, said she’d seen a tree decorated with those items that would be donated. She said the idea stuck with her.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

The United Methodist Women’s group at Trinity United Methodist Church is throwing hats, mittens, socks and scarves into the mix of things donated to Matt 25 Hope Center this holiday season.

Lorraine Weingates, president of the group, said she’d seen a tree decorated with hats, mittens, socks and gloves to be donated before and God has been talking to her for a few years to organize her own drive.

“He said it was time to put your action to work,” Weingates said. “Churches give coats and churches give other things. I thought maybe they don’t get hats and mittens to go with the coats. Anything to keep them warm.”

The tree is set up right inside the church’s front door and is topped with a sign saying, “Warm hands, warm hearts.” Weingates said she hopes if someone’s hands are warm, their heart will be too.

The drive began Nov. 8 and runs through Dec. 16. Weingates said the congregation has donated so much, the group may have to clear off the tree to make room for more donations.

“It’s God’s mandate that we should help those that are less fortunate than ourselves,” she said.

Gathering together to help others is something the congregation has done before. In September, the church collected school supplies for Cameo Elementary School. When Weingates’ son was deployed in Iraq four years ago, members of the church gathered supplies to stuff stockings for him and fellow soldiers.

“Our congregation is great about helping out,” Weingates said.

Pastor Margot Thompson said she was happy that UMW came together behind their president and the drive.

“Our vision statement is caring and sharing Jesus,” Thompson said. “This lives it out.”

Executive Director of the Matt 25 Hope Center Steve Reshentar said the center struggles each year to provide warm clothes and blankets for those who need them.

“Any drive will have a huge impact on our ability to meet that need,” he said.