TOLEDO (13abc Action News) - With snow and colder temperatures in the forecast, it's important to remember there are a lot of people in our region who don't even have a winter coat to help keep them warm. A local woman has made it her mission to change that, and she has an army of volunteers who help make it happen.
Thousands of coats, hats, gloves and scarves will be given away Saturday, no questions asked. All you have to do is show up at the Cherry Street Mission's Life Revitalization Center.
Susie Perry says the idea for Susie's Coats was born because of a milestone birthday, "It started when I turned 50. I wanted to do something to give back because as I child, my siblings and I were homeless. We were the recipients of donations."
That first year she gave away 50 coats in a matter of minutes.
It's a much different story a decade later."I bet we have 3,500 items here to give away. There's no reason that anyone in northwest Ohio should be cold. We have lots of items to give away."
This was set up day, getting everything sorted, put on racks and then separated by size and age, "I think a hat and a coat give people hope. I think that hope brightens their day and makes them realize life really is good. People are inherently good and really want to be of service."
That belief was put into action during today's set up. Kaitlynn Gilbert came in with her Aunt Ruth Periatt. She left with a coat and a smile, "She had nowhere to go but I have my aunt by my side always . Now you have a coat too. It'll keep her warm! I really appreciate everybody doing this for me."
The coat Kaitlynn chose was brought in by Rhea Perry, a volunteer who comes from Columbus to take part, "It feels so good to give back. That young woman who was just here chose my mom's coat. My mom didn't need it, and she did. I am so excited for her to have it."
Thanks to Susie and her volunteers there will be a lot of other stories just like that tomorrow. Dan Rogers heads up Cherry Street Mission Ministries, which opened its doors for the giveaway, "The Cherry Street Mission was born as a grass roots organization. In the seven decades since we opened we have worked to make sure we continue to encourage what we call curb level service. Susie's Coats certainly provides curb level service. We are so happy to have them under our roof."
The doors open Saturday morning at 10. Once again, you just need to show up. No need to bring proof of income. You are also welcome to pick up coats for friends, neighbors or others in need.
If you need help or if you'd like to make a donation to Susie's Coats, we've posted a link.