On Friday, January 27, members of Trinity Episcopal Church in Mobile, participated with members of the community in serving people who are poor and homeless in Housing First’s annual Project Homeless Connect. Held at Mobile’s fairgrounds, this yearly event supports the homeless population by providing medical, dental and vision screenings and treatment, laundry and bathing centers, haircuts, re-issuing of identification, housing counseling/information, VA services, job counseling/placement, legal services (court), lunch, and providing packs of toiletries. As a show of respect, those who came were not called homeless, but “guests.” The Rev. Deacon Terry Goff organized Trinity’s efforts in collecting the donated clothing and participating in the event. This year, Trinity provided more than 3,000 items of clothing for guests to this event, as parishioners donated their own clothes, purchased needed items or solicited donations from family and friends. The clothing included coats, pants, shirts, shoes, and scarves for men, women and children. Socks were also provided, including 798 pairs that were donated to Trinity by O’Rourke Elementary School. Deacon Goff’s granddaughter attends O’Rourke Elementary and asked the school to collect socks during the month of October for this special event. Word spread throughout the community, thanks to parishioners talking about this ministry to the homeless. When they learned that Trinity was in need of additional men’s clothing, the Knights of Columbus at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Mobile, donated men’s pants, shirts, shoes and belts. Darren Heningburg, a young man with no direct connection to Trinity, volunteered a Penske truck and, along with two parishioners, Roger and Becky Vance, assisted in loading the 24 racks of clothes and moved the racks to the fairgrounds. He also came and worked at the Friday event. Two young women brought approximately 50 homemade hats to Trinity’s booth at the fairgrounds with cute little labels — “Hats for Health” — because they wanted “to give them to friends.” The Mobile chapter of the NAACP brought two boxes of clothes to the booth because they heard there was a need for more men’s clothes. Thompson Engineering donated seven cases of dry-roasted peanuts—350 bags—to distribute to our guests. The guests really enjoyed getting these peanuts! Even the prison inmates who were there on work release were allowed to have a bag of peanuts—they brought people happiness and brought back good memories from when they were children for many of them. This was a wonderful event and truly a community event, so many people worked together to make this a great day! The people of Trinity and the other volunteers were God’s hand and feet in the world this day!
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