A Second Hand Up
One of the first things beginning hockey players learn is how to get back up when they fall on the ice. Most of us learn that lesson of recovering from life's mistakes and misfortunes through the love and kindness of family and friends. But for others, life support isn't always so helpful or available.
Last year, in 2020, Joseph's Coat of Central Ohio and its army of volunteers helped nearly 3,000 families and 8,000 individuals get back on their feet with gently used clothing, household items and used furniture. In prior years, and pre-Covid, the number of individuals helped has soared to more than 20,000 and the number of families helped increased to more than 8,000. Typically, more than a third of those helped are struggling to survive below the poverty line, while others are fighting their way back from some form of addiction, or perhaps time in jail, or having lost a job, while still others are recovering from the catastrophe of being suddenly homeless, such as from a house fire.
Begun in 1998 as an offshoot ministry of Messiah Lutheran Church in nearby Reynoldsburg, Ohio, the mission of Joseph's Coat is now supported by a growing ecumenical group of Columbus-area churches. Our mission is to provide the dignified structure of a "second hand up" in life for people facing all manner of need. We do this by providing, free of charge and no questions asked, some of the basics of daily living. From the consistent and abundant generosity of Columbus residents, no longer wanted clothing and furniture become the building block essentials of starting over for people on the margins of urban life.
But it also takes strong financial support to sustain this 20-year ministry. Every dollar Joseph's Coat received in 2020 more than tripled in value of items given out; in pre-Covid years the multiplier has been even higher. Because the need is so great and so persistent, Joseph's is dreaming big, by making plans in 2022 to acquire a permanent distribution center -- a "free community store" -- and to expand its operation to a minimum of two satellite locations in other parts of Columbus so we can better serve those in need. Your contribution will assist in providing everything from clean mattresses, to washers and driers to prepare clothing, to part-time staff to coordinate those who want to donate their time as well as their goods and money. The need is vast and eclectic, and we're asking in this campaign for an initial $25,000 to assist in the initial preparation for a Second Hand Up for our neighbors. Every gift or pledge matters because great things sprout from small seed beginnings!