Keeping the community warm

Local outreach hosts weekly coat giveaway

REED CITY — Living in a camper in her friend’s yard on less than $800 a month, Ivy LuuKkonen welcomes any kind of assistance. That’s why she came to the free winter wear giveaway to get a warm coat on Tuesday at the former Seventh Day Adventist Church, located at 401 South Chestnut St. in Reed City. “Every couple months I come when I need some personal items,” she said, while choosing between a red pea coat and a tan fur coat. From 2 to 4 p.m. every Tuesday, Mary Lou Proefrock gives away coats, hats and mittens to community members in need. Piles of coats line the church pews and hang on the walls of the sanctuary, separated by type and size. “I meet a lot of nice people and hear some unforgettable stories,” said Proefrock, who organizes the outreach as part of the Reed City Area Ministerial Association. The clothing items were collected by local church groups, who filled boxes with new or used winter coats beginning in September. More than 300 coats were collected for distribution. “We have a lot of brand new coats,” said Proefrock, who has been in charge of the collection and distribution for more than 10 years. “This is a wonderful thing the ministerial association does that not many people know about. It grows every year because people start planning for it. They ask for a new coat for Christmas because they want to donate their old one.” With more coats being given to the outreach regularly, Proefrock expects to continue the distribution through March. The coats, hats and mittens that are left over after winter ends will be saved for next year’s giveaway. While Proefrock gives away winter wear in the sanctuary for two hours each Tuesday, volunteers from the Seventh Day Adventist Church host their own giveaway in the basement or the church at the same time. The church gives away clothes, hats, toiletries and personal items and is looking for volunteer help. “Everything is free, all the clothes, coats, hats, toiletries. It’s stuff that everyone needs,” said Phylis Cool, of the SDA Church.