11/16/12 — 'Warm the World' giveaway Saturday

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'Warm the World' giveaway Saturday

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on November 16, 2012 1:46 PM

Members of First Baptist Church know what lost hope looks like. They've seen it in the eyes of the many people who have come the past two years to receive warm clothing, blankets and sleeping bags through the Warm the World project.

"That's the hardest thing to see," said pastor Glenn Phillips. "But they look us in the eye and tell us that because of us, they know someone still cares. It gives them a little bit of hope back."

And that's what makes all the hard work worthwhile, Phillips said.

The event will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon at First Baptist Church.

This is the third year that the church has done Warm the World to give out warm clothing and other items the weekend before Thanksgiving. It was the brainchild of three of the church's Sunday school classes.

"Three years ago they thought there are so many needs around us, what can we do to help," Phillips said. "So they collected blankets and sleeping bags for the homeless. But what they soon discovered was that not only do the homeless need these kinds of things, but so do people who are barely getting by."

The next year, the project was expanded to include coats, sheets, shoes, anything church members wanted to donate. This year the project has expanded even more to include Madison Avenue Baptist and Garris United Methodist churches, Eastern Wayne High School's Key Club and the Wayne County Young Professionals Club, who are all helping to collect items.

When church members arrived at the giveaway last year, they found the line down the church steps, out on to John Street and all the way past Walnut Street. When they had given away all the donations within an hour, that's when they realized just how great the need was.

Last year there were between 175 and 200 people. This year the church is expecting even more.

The church members have seen people who are honest enough to take only what they need.

"We'll tell someone, 'Here, take another jacket,'" Phillips said. "And the person will say, "No, I need to leave that for somebody else.'"

In addition to giving out sleeping bags, blankets and clothing items this year, members of the church will also feed those who come, with hot soup and nutritious fruits. Three local restaurants are donating food for the event.

Also this year, the church will have someone to talk to those coming for an item about what resources are in the community that they might qualify for that would help them.

"We're also going to talk to them about how to be safe in winter weather," Phillips said.

And of course, there will be some fun things. Phillips will play his guitar so everyone can sing songs

"We're going to make sure they know that we love them because God loves all of us," he said.

"We do this particular project because we feel like there's a particular need here for people who don't have other places to find help."