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Coats needed as Portadown church extends helping hand in cost of living crisis

'We are trying to reach out across the town to get people to donate'

Darrin Thompson

A Portadown church is appealing for donations of coats, hats, scarves and gloves in a project to help local people deal with the cost of living crisis as winter approaches.

Thomas Street Methodist Church has teamed up with the organisation, Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) Northern Ireland, for the Winter Coat Project.

Over the next few weeks, people can leave items at the church or manse in Thomas Street ahead of an open evening on Monday, October 10 from 6-8.30pm.

On that date, items will be on display in the church hall for people to go along and select what they need as well as enjoying some refreshments.

Minister, the Rev Darrin Thompson, said this was the first time the church had taken part in the coat project which is also run in other parts of Northern Ireland as part of ROC’s mission to empower people to create “safer, stronger communities”.

“I saw a post on Facebook from ROC and because of the energy crisis and the cost of living crisis I thought  I would like us to do it, so I went to my leaders and they said ‘absolutely’,” he explained.

“A few bits and pieces have started to come in already. There’s a lady coming from near Belfast tonight to drop stuff off and there’s another lady said her church will collect for us.

“We have also had people contacting us to check the date and saying they are in need and will be coming along on the night.”

Rev Thompson said he had contacted other clergy in Portadown – from across the religious spectrum – to help publicise the initiative.

“We are trying to reach out across the town to get people to donate,” he said. “The Thomas Street area has quite a large migrant community and low-income families and we already have people who often reach out to us for help in different ways.

“This is just one way that has popped up and we thought it would be a practical means for us to help, if people are going to have to choose between heat and eat this winter.

“We will also be offering tea and toast and soup on the night. There’s a lot of talk about warm spaces at the moment and we have a big building here so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be using it for people who are finding it tough at the moment.”

Anyone who wishes to donate but is having transport issues is welcome to send a message to the Thomas Street Methodist Church Facebook page and someone will be in touch to arrange collection.

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