Mars Hill Church collected over 1,500 coats for people in need throughout the Seattle community as part of their three-week long coat drive in partnership with several organizations.
Each of the megachurch's campuses, including their church in Portland, Ore., gathered new and gently used coats for the massive effort aimed at helping the poor and homeless who will brave what is expected to be one of the coldest winters in Washington state history.
"A number of our churches have held coat drives each year, however, this is the first church-wide coat drive that we've done," said Dante Antonio Miro, senior manager of creative services at Mars Hill.
The church's efforts were focused on its motto to be God's hands and feet and to share His love. Its association with social service agencies and other rescue missions proved to be an act of grace, Pastor Tim Smith of Mars Hill Portland said.
"This thanksgiving season, we want to do something, we don't want to say we just love people, we want to put that in action by doing something about a real need that we see," said Smith, who has also been providing help to the Portland foster care system for over a year.
Vision House, an agency that provides transitional housing and support services to families in Seattle was one of the partnering agencies that received 108 coats from the Mars Hill Shoreline campus. According to Venetia Vango, the development manager for the organization, only 20 to 30 coats will be used for their in-house residents.
"We have a 'resident store," in it, moms can come and shop for themselves, not with dollars, but on a point system dependent on the size of their family, picking out the items they need for themselves and their children," said Vango, as the majority of their residents are homeless women and kids.
In addition, the church's Bellevue campus donated 500 coats to Jubilee Reach, a volunteer-powered organization, while the Olympia campus donated 128 coats to Olympia's Union Gospel Mission.
In King County alone where Mars Hill Ballard is located, 2,736 people were reported to be homeless as of January 2013, which the church responded to by contributing nearly 200 coats.
Currently, Mars Hill has plans to open its 16th campus in Spokane as part of an effort to reach Spokane's younger demographic.