By Joel Hall
Two faith-based organizations in Stockbridge are teaming up in an effort to provide 1,000 people with coats, and hundreds of people with holiday toys, food and other necessities.
Until Dec. 18, the Feed My People food pantry and clothing center will collect coats of all sizes through its annual coat drive. On Dec. 4, from 7 to 8 p.m., and Dec. 5 from 9 a.m., to 2 p.m., the Redeemed Christian Church of God Grace Assembly will register families for its annual Toys for Tots giveaway.
On Dec. 19, starting at 9 a.m., the two organizations will jointly coordinate a Holiday Community Distribution, in which the church will distribute toys to registered families and Feed My People will empty its food pantry in preparation for the new year. In addition, volunteers will distribute new shoes, hygiene products, scarves, gloves, hats, warm food and other necessities.
Allyson Lewis, executive director of Feed My People, said the event will include games and activities, as well as a live remote with Kameron Stevenson of the WIGO AM 1570 "The Light" radio station. Lewis said she believes the event will have a significant impact on the Southern Crescent's homeless and underprivileged communities.
"This is the first time we have been so public with it," Lewis said. "We're anticipating 1,000 people here, so I would love to have 1,000 coats. I already have several churches partnering with us. We need a variety of coats ... kids, boys and girls, men and women."
Lewis said the largest group in need of warm, winter clothing in the Southern Crescent is homeless men.
"We need scarves, gloves, hats, [and] long johns, because -- think about that -- these people are outside," Lewis said.
She said that those who come to receive a coat on Dec. 19 will be able to receive a bag of food, while supplies last, and receive financial advice and foreclosure-prevention assistance from Fifth Third Bank.
Shamque Pearson, outreach coordinator for Redeemed Christian Church of God Grace Assembly, said the church will be able to register about 300 families to receive toys from the U.S. Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program. She said the number exceeds that of last year, and is due, in part, to the collaboration between the church and Feed My People.
"Since we came together, we can do a little more," Pearson said. "Instead of being a one-man show, we can work together and help a lot of people. I really believe it is a blessing, especially because of the times that we are in right now. The people who come for the toys are also going to be blessed with other things they need."
Redeemed Christian Church of God Grace Assembly, located at 6045 North Henry Blvd., Suite A in Stockbridge, will accept donations of toys from the general public up until the day of the distribution. The church will distribute the toys on Dec. 19 from 9 a.m., to 10 a.m., to families from Clayton and Henry counties who register at the church on either Dec. 4 or Dec. 5.
The Holiday Community Distribution will open to the general public starting at 10 a.m., on Dec. 19, in the parking lot in front of Feed My People, located at 6045 North Henry Blvd., Suite C in Stockbridge.
For more information about the distribution, call (678) 565-7800. For information about the Toys for Tots drive, call (678) 663-6613 or (404) 707-8144.