A nationwide pizza chain and a local church in Detroit are partnering together this winter to give away 4,000 free brand-new winter coats for low-income youth.
Since 2009, Happy’s Pizza and Greater Grace Temple have joined forces to assist struggling families who have been hit hard by the economy.
“It is always a great feeling to assist people with some basic needs in life and we are excited to provide thousands of kids this winter with a brand new coat,” Greater Grace’s Senior pastor Bishop Charles H. Ellis III said in a statement.
“Happy’s Coats For Kids” has provided more than 10,000 free winter coats since its inception. Retired Detroit Lion football player Lomas Brown has also partnered with the restaurant chain. This year, the Lions’ Maurice Morris will also make a special appearance.
Volunteers from Bank of America and City Year will assist in the giveaway as well.
“Each year huge crowds come out to get the coats and it’s certainly a win for Happy’s because it shows that they want to do more than just take money out of the community,” Melvin Epps, the communications director for Greater Grace, told The Christian Post.
“They are a community partner and sincerely want to help and give back to those who are struggling,” Epps said.
Happy’s Pizza first approached the Detroit megachurch with the idea for the winter coat giveaway.
“They wanted to show they cared and had envisioned the coat giveaway, but weren’t sure how to do it,” Epps detailed.
“They wanted the effort to be successful and had seen how our church was active year round beyond the walls, so they proposed a partnership. We were delighted as we see meeting needs in our community as the church’s purpose. That is, meeting spiritual and natural needs. We believe that love requires taking action.”
Coats are available for youngsters 3 to 13 years old, with sizes based on availability. Parents can pick up a voucher at Happy’s Pizza locations in the Greater Detroit area beginning Monday, Nov. 21st. The vouchers can then be taken to pick up their coats at the New Rogell Golf Course on Nov. 26.
“As you know, Detroit has been hard hit by the downslide, so the last thing many single parents or for that matter families in general need is to stretch an already stretched budget to buy a new winter coat. That’s especially true when your child is outgrowing everything you buy seemingly within only a short time of buying it,” Epps shared with CP.
“We’ve had numerous parents tell us what a Godsend this really is for them,” he said. Too often people want to say that the church isn’t doing anything in the community, the director noted. “But they can’t say that about Greater Grace Temple or any church that’s walking in love.”
Greater Grace participates in year-round activities for the community, including a free bicycle giveaway to low-income children during Christmas time. This year, the bike giveaway will fall on Christmas Day. For some of the children it will be the only gift they will receive, leaders said.
“Sometimes just the simplest gesture is all that’s needed to draw someone,” Epps revealed. Quoting Bishop Ellis, he added, “You can’t help everyone, but you can do your part.”
“We’ve had people come to Greater Grace because of kindness shown, but I think events like this plant seeds and say to a community that we want to do more than just have church. We are with the love of God and God’s love is always about more than just talk. It’s about making an impact, and touching those that are hurting and broken,” Epps said.