By SHEILA OJENDYK
GREENVILLE Something warm and fuzzy happened this month in the Upstate. Some of the needy have been without heat in their homes those who have homes and people responded generously to the call to “blanket the Upstate.”
This heart-warming project began when Doug Bell, director of Goodwill, contacted Sister Margie Hosch, OSF, regional coordinator for Catholic Charities, to tell her he had 100 coats from Goodwill’s Coats for Kids drive.
Sister Hosch suggested that they also collect blankets for needy people, and Bell agreed to accept donations at all Goodwill stores in the Upstate. She set two dates to offer free coats and blankets and notified all parishes in the Piedmont Deanery.
Carol Goldsmith, reporter and news anchor from WYFF Channel 4, heard about the blanket drive and offered to “do a media blitz” for the broadcast area. John Cessarich, meteorologist for WYFF, broadcasted all day on Jan. 14, from the Goodwill store on Greenville’s Poinsett Highway, and people of all faiths poured into the store carrying coats and blankets.
A women’s group from John Knox Presbyterian Church heard about the need for coats and blankets and conducted their own drive. Parishioners from St. Mary and other local parishes also donated shoes, towels and miscellaneous bedding items.
On two succeeding Saturdays, Jan. 9 and 16, Catholic Charities opened the door to the Dapco Warehouse adjacent to St. Mary Parish, and people were given what they needed.
Donations were so generous that Catholic Charities had enough coats and blankets left over to share with Spartanburg Total Ministries, Clemson Community Care, Salvation Army and the Red Cross.
Sister Hosch was also able to share coats and blankets with representatives from Seventh Day Adventist and Pentecostal Churches who visit the needy in their homes.
She summed up the project when she said, “What is very special about this is how the agencies and churches all worked together to provide coats and blankets for the poor.”