One of the most important rules to community service -- be available where people can reach you. Taking that thinking to heart, Jackie Ogg opened up the Joseph’s Closest Coat Drive this morning at St. Francis of Xavier Parish in southeast Washington, DC to reach voters who might need a warm jacket.
With temperatures in the low 30’s this morning, there were plenty of interested people. More than 100 coats were given away for a $3 donation between 9 am and noon on Election Day. St Francis also serves as a polling location in Washington, DC’s Ward 7.
“As I delivered some coats yesterday, I realized it would be a perfect chance to reach the community at a time when they were probably going to be cold,” said Ogg, who is the director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington's Outreach Division. "We have been looking for a way to get the word out that we have all of these coats. And suddenly it dawned on me that many people in the neighborhood would be here today."
|Jackie Ogg helps a shopper and voter.|
As the line to vote snaked around the building, Jackie greeted folks on their way out from the polls and showed them racks of coats in great condition. The coats were donated by Catholic parishes across the Archdiocese of Washington as part of Catholic Charities' first-ever Joseph's Coats of Many Colors Drive.
It seemed to be the right moment to reach people, as many stepped in and did some shopping. "I felt like a personal shopper today. It was a ton of fun," said Ogg.
Father Jim Boccabella, pastor at St. Francis of Xavier Catholic Church, said the coat program is part of a larger effort to put a face to the Church.
“Just as St. Paul said Jesus is the visible face of the invisible God, work like the coat drive is often the public face of the Catholic faith,” said Father Jim. “It gives us a chance to show people who we are. When people come to us or to Catholic Charities, we never ask about religion. And I think that surprises a lot of people in the community.”
Joseph’s Closet at St. Francis is open on Sundays from 1 to 4 pm. More information on participating in the larger coat drive is available here.