St Michael’s Parish Church, Shankill, Belfast, supported many people in the local community through a very successful Winter Coat Giveaway Project.
The parish worked in partnership with Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) NI and the Hub Chaplaincy.
Parish Development Officer Heather Carson said: “We had fabulous support, with donations of pre-loved items from Equipping for Life volunteers and our Mid-Belfast deanery churches.”
In total, some 450 good quality coats for all ages were donated, along with a couple of hundred scarves, hat and gloves.
Heather added: “We were very grateful for the hard work of our staff team along with staff from ROC NI and staff and students from the Hub Chaplaincy along with our Young @ Heart ladies.
“There was much hard work involved in sorting and displaying everything in a dignified ‘shop setting’ where people would feel comfortable.”
The Winter Coat Giveaway was held on September 20, and almost 300 coats were gratefully taken, along with all the scarves, hats and gloves.
“It was a joy to see the delight on so many faces as coats were tried on viewed in the mirrors and modelled for friends,” Heather said. “Among those we were able to support were many refugee and asylum seeking families, international students, a men’s group, a women’s refuge, and people from our local community.
“Tea/coffee biscuits and sweets were on offer during the day. It was a lovely outreach and practical witness of love and concern for those struggling in current times.”
Most coats that remained were donated to the next church hosting the project, while some men’s coats were gifted to another parish working with homeless people.
“Around 15 churches, mostly in Belfast but some across Northern Ireland, have been part of the Winter Coat Giveaway Project, and so far we estimate 2,500 coats have been given out,” said Heather.