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Blanket Appalachia donates coats, blankets

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: Nov 02 2012 04:59:13 PM CDT
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Weber City, Va. -

Don't let that warmth of these sunning days fool you -- there's still that little chill in the air. In fact, this week's weather has us all reaching for that winter coat.

But for some, there is no winter coat. To help with that a North Carolina ministry is attempting to Blanket Appalachia over the next couple of weekends.

The gym at First Baptist Church in Weber City, Virginia is filled with coats and blankets for those in need. All will be gone in four hours.

"We had a staff meeting one day and the pastor says, under the steeple of this church we have people who do not have a winter coat. How can we raise the money to get 50 coats," parish nurse Carol McConnell said.

That goal quickly grew to 800 because of the great need. "As of yesterday we had 672 reservations plus the phone is ring off the hook today," Carol says.

No reservations needed at the Lynn View Baptist Church, who is participating for the second year in the Blanket Appalachia effort. "We were overwhelmed. We had 600 blankets last year and we ran out of blankets. We ran out of some sizes last year. It was devastating to have to turn people away because we didn't have their size," says Gerald Owens, a volunteer with the church.

Hopefully they have enough this year as economic situations continue and the need grows. "In these economic times it's really exciting to see the church doing what Christ asked us to do by reaching out and helping those that have need," interim pastor John Coates said.

All of the coats and blankets came from Blanket America and their Blanket Appalachia ministry. "Well we've had two tractor-trailers of coats and we've had three 36-foot trailers pulled behind a truck full of blankets," Lou Staples with Blanket American says.

And the Appalachian region isn't the only place in need, Lou Staples tells us; they are meeting similar needs in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. "They are all around us. They're poor not only economically, they're poor because they don't know Jesus Christ," he added.

Meeting a basic need both in warmth and in spirit.