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November 4, 2009 > Donate your coats to help others

Donate your coats to help others

By Ritu Jha
Photos By courtesy of Barbara Oliveira

The idea of giving away coats to the needy came to Barbara Oliveira while she was watching Good Morning America on television last year.

"The Burlington Coat Factory was taking coat donations, so I thought let us start now," says Oliveira, a member of New Hope Community Church, located in Fremont. New Hope Community Church in Fremont was established 30 years ago and is a part of the Reformed Church in America.

Since January church members have been collecting coats with the giveaway date on Saturday, November 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at New Hope Community Church. The free giveaway is open for everyone who is in need of a warm sweater or coat. The coats will be given on a first come, first served basis. There are coats of all sizes and shapes for men and women as well as for boys and girls.

Oliveira says church members will be baking cookies, so that people can have something to eat and something warm to drink.

"We have coats for you. Please come. We want people to be welcomed with open arms."

"There is a big need in the country. There are many needy children," says Oliveira. "The way the economy is now, a lot of people are homeless because of foreclosures."

The church has collected 30 bags of coats, sweaters and sweat shirts. "People have been bringing coats from all over the community. We would appreciate even more donations before November 7," states Oliveira.

Church members have put up fliers at various community centers and schools, as well as placed community service announcements on local television in Milpitas and in the newspaper. "The response is good; I had no idea initially that people would be willing to donate coats," says Oliveira. She said there are people bringing coats from Orange County and her daughter Eunice Lapor, who lives in Los Angeles, has collected 150 coats to bring here. Another lady bought a new coat from Target to donate.

"I feel really good," says Oliveira. "I feel it's something God said to do. We are not rich people, but we can feed and help the needy to keep them warm."

New Hope Community Church is doing another good thing outside Fremont. The church is working on a project called "Water Wells" in Kenya, Africa for a Masai tribe. "They travel 18 miles to get water," says Oliveira. "We are building water wells for them."

The project first started in 2006 and so far, has built one well. She explains that the church has been raising funds to build more water wells. "One water well costs $40,000 because the Masai tribe is located on volcanic rock and it's expensive," says Oliveira.

She adds that to generate funds for the water well project, the church collects empty water bottles and sells them to a recycling company. The money collected goes toward the water well fund.

"This is my passion, to provide five water wells for the Masai tribe in Africa."

Free Coat Give Away
Saturday, November 7
11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
New Hope Community Church
2190 Peralta Blvd., Fremont
(510) 739-0430

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