Coat drive hopes to wrap community in warmth

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Telfer. The second annual coat collection sponsored by The Greatest of These is Love kicked off Oct. 4 at Coogan Terrace with Sue Herman (left), Melvindale Housing Commission Board chairwoman; Cynthia Telfer, Melvindale Housing Commission executive director and organization president; Coogan Terrace resident Patrick Czeski; Luz Guzman, property manager and organization vice president; and Coogan Terrace residents Carla Kelly, Catherine Stecker and Elaine Filipowski.

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Telfer. The second annual coat collection sponsored by The Greatest of These is Love kicked off Oct. 4 at Coogan Terrace with Sue Herman (left), Melvindale Housing Commission Board chairwoman; Cynthia Telfer, Melvindale Housing Commission executive director and organization president; Coogan Terrace resident Patrick Czeski; Luz Guzman, property manager and organization vice president; and Coogan Terrace residents Carla Kelly, Catherine Stecker and Elaine Filipowski.

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

MELVINDALE – As unseasonably sunny weather lulls Michiganders into false complacency, one local group feels a chill in the air, and hopes for a strong showing during its second annual coat drive.

The group, The Greatest of These is Love, was formed as a non-profit organization to help address unmet community needs, and is based out of Coogan Terrace, a low income senior and disabled public housing facility at 3501 Oakwood Blvd.

“We began to observe children walking to school in the winter of 2015 without coats, hats, scarves or gloves,” Housing Commission Executive Director Cynthia Telfer said. “A gentle inquiry revealed many of them did not have coats at home.”

Last year the group donated coats, scarves and gloves to Allendale Elementary School, 3201 Oakwood Blvd.

Telfer said they hope they can expand their coat collection this year to help other Melvindale residents who might need a warm winter coat.

“Personally, I am distressed when I hear of people who are vulnerable,” Telfer said. “Many, through no fault of their own, do not have enough food to eat or warm clothes to wear or even a safe place to shelter their family.”

She hopes The Greatest of These is Love can help people who have trouble meeting their basic needs.

In addition to the coat drive, Telfer would like to see the group expand the reach of its thrift shop and food program to provide more people with quality, low cost household items and nutritious meals.

People wishing to donate new or gently used winter coats may drop them off at Coogan Terrace from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The coat drive will run through Nov. 21, with donation receipts available during drop off. Monetary donations can be given to receptionist.

For more information, and the group’s Go Fund Me page link, go to gotle.org.

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)

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