The annual coat drive to celebrate our patron Saint Martin wrapped up last weekend. Over 200 coats were donated. Fever United, Roanoke Lions Club and St. Martin’s Episcopal School and church combined efforts to help those in need at Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County.
On Sunday, November 23, the youth of St. Martin’s and members of Fever United loaded up donated coats into Deacon Henry Penner’s car. A parent from Fever United, Jana McClarty, brought her vehicle and youth soccer players to load up cars as well.
On Monday, November 24, members of Fever United and Deacon Henry brought the coats to Union Gospel Mission.
Brandon Hay and his family, who are members of Fever United Soccer shared these words:
My family and Fever United Soccer 00 player friends had the opportunity to learn about Union Gospel in Fort Worth from Volunteer Coordinator, Lezlee Kinney on Nov. 24. It was a humbling experience to see what life is like for the homeless and how they are being assisted by Union Gospel and many volunteers to get a fresh start. Over a half million people in the US are homeless and it could happen to anyone. This Thanksgiving we are thankful that Fever United was able to help the Union Gospel community by working with St. Martin’s Church to donate 200 coats.
Jana McClarty and her family, Fever United Soccer members, describes their experience:
It started out as a quick trip or one more errand that our mom asked us to tag along in. It ended up as a life lesson. As we approached Lancaster Avenue, the street where UGM is located, we noticed a big change in the neighborhood. We just traveled 30 minutes from our home and we saw graffiti, trash, properties with bars on their windows and people with all their belongings outside, they were homeless.
GPS announced we arrived at our destination, we made our turn and saw a familiar face, Deacon Henry. We exchanged good mornings and were greeted by a small group of hard working men eager to assist in unloading the coats. We were thanked countless times and referred to as gentlemen.
It was quick! It took less than 2 minutes to unload the cars with that much help. Two more teammates arrived just as we finished the rapid unload and we all smiled for a picture and we were done. Done? We looked around and saw that so much more could be done. We asked how we could help and we were greeted by Lezlee Kinney, the UGM volunteer coordinator and she offered us a tour.
Lezlee started her tour in the chapel and we journeyed through a program room and cafeteria as she shared with us what UGM does and how so any volunteers help with their good work. It’s more than a place to drop off a coat! It’s a place where shelter, food, job training, medical care and community is provided. Babies are born and come home to UGM. The school bus stops here to bring kids to school and back home to UGM. UGM is a home for hundreds, a meal for thousands and hope for countless.
We thanked Lezlee for her time and headed home. As we looked out our windows we saw the same faces we saw when we came in, but now we saw the hope and gratitude. It’s the help from UGM and volunteers that can create change for individuals and a community. A small gesture of donating a coat became a lesson of humanity that warmed the heart.
This Thanksgiving, St. Martin’s would like to thank all those who join together and do God’s work. With the cold weather coming to stay for a while in our area, St. Martin’s is grateful that many people will have warm coats. Our partners in the community make it possible to stretch our hands even farther and make a difference. It is good to share how lives are changed in the act of giving.
He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.