The Times West Virginian

October 26, 2013

Union Mission to distribute winter coats on Wednesday

By Colleen S. Good
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The Union Mission will be distributing winter coats from its annual winter coat drive this Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Coats will be sorted by age group, from children to adult, and will be set up at the mission’s auditorium at 107 Jefferson St., accessible by the bridge entrance.

Brandon Wood, office coordinator for the Union Mission, has been involved in the coat drive since he started working at the Union Mission three years ago. The mission usually distributes the coats in November, but this year officials decided to get started a little early.

“It seems like October is kind of getting cold,” Wood said. “We just want to provide people with some warmth.”

Wood encourages anyone in need to stop by and get a coat Wednesday.

“Anybody and everybody can come and get a coat,” Wood said. “There are no requirements, and you don’t have to bring anything. Just show up and get a coat.”

Wood said that the coat drive is especially important for needy families.

“A good winter coat is pretty expensive, and if you’re providing for three or four or more, it gets really expensive,” Wood said.

Wood said that the mission has been collecting coats since the drive wound up last year.

Last year’s coat drive was a great success.

“We had about six tables full of coats, and I don’t think we had much left over,” Wood said.

The coat drive is particularly important for the city’s homeless community, Wood said.

“There aren’t many places for them to go and get warm during the day, and so one coat can be a big help,” he said.

The Union Mission has been holding its winter coat drive for more than 20 years. The coat drive really gets at the heart of the mission’s goals, Wood said.

“We’re a ministry of caring, and this is one way we can give to this community and those in need.”

The Union Mission accepts donations for the coat drive year-round, Wood said. Donations can be dropped off at the Union Mission at 107 Jefferson St. in downtown Fairmont, or at Penny Pinchers on Fairmont Avenue.

Volunteers from the Union Mission will be taking the coats from Penny Pinchers to the Union Mission for sorting Tuesday. Some of the clients at the mission will help with sorting, with around five volunteers providing additional help, Wood said.

And while the big winter coat giveaway is Wednesday, if someone is in need of a coat after that date, they won’t be turned away.

“If someone comes in and needs a coat, we will give it,” Wood said.

Email Colleen S. Good at cgood@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.