During the last few months of cold weather, Our Lady of Perpetual Help is having a coat drive where people can take or leave a coat outside their parish.
After seeing a post on Facebook showing a restaurant on the East Coast organize something similar, Margaret Shapiro, campaign coordinator at OLPH, was inspired to begin a similar project in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“It just takes very little effort to make a difference in the community,” Shapiro said. “This is something simple and efficient and didn’t cost the parish anything.”
Above the coat racks hang two banners, one written in English and the other in Spanish. The first reads, “Are you cold? Take one,” and the second reads, “Do you want to help? Leave one.”
Shapiro said she checks the coats frequently, making sure there are about a dozen coats out at a time. She said although the coat racks have only been up since Monday, she sees coats appearing and disappearing every day.
“This thing really manages itself,” Shapiro said. “I just check every now and then to make sure enough coats are out there, and if not, I’ll hang more up.”
One time when she checked on the coats, she said she saw two gentlemen walking down the street with new coats they took from the racks.
Shapiro encourages people to take a coat to anyone they know who is in need of one.
“This is a reminder about why we’re active in the churches that we’re a part of,” she said. “I’m hoping this can benefit our neighbors during the cold months.”
Although this is the first time a coat drive is happening at the church, Shapiro said she can see this happening again later in the year when the cold weather returns.