Local church gives back in season of giving

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IRVINGTON, NJ — The Believers Love Fellowship church in Irvington hosted its fifth annual winter coat drive on Saturday, Dec. 14, spearheaded by church elder Patricia Petty, along with other church members. While the church gives out bread and pastries to the community each week, in addition to the usual fare, it handed out winter coats, hats and scarves last week.

Ahead of the event on Friday, Dec. 13, Petty said she had high expectations as the church expected a large turnout.

“The winter coat drive this weekend is a big event for our church,” she said in a phone interview with the Irvington Herald on before the event. “More than 100 coats will be given out to the community. We have a soup kitchen and we feed the Irvington community five days a week, Monday through Friday. On a regular Saturday, we get 30 to 40 people. This Saturday, we’ll most likely see about 50 or so for the coat drive, and it should be a great turnout.

“The church members bought the coats for the event and those coats will be given out to the community. We all contribute.”

Then, the day of the coat drive came with nasty weather and heavy rain that didn’t let up, affecting the turnout. Petty, however, took all this in stride.

“We had about 46 people come out and we gave them coats, in addition to the bread and pastries,” Petty said to the Irvington Herald on Monday, Dec. 16. “We still have winter coats leftover so, more than likely we’ll hand them out next Saturday. The weather affected the number of people attending. It happens.”

Church Pastor Rhonda Butler said she wants to do more to serve her community. 

“We had approximately 100 coats and gave away 46, along with hats, scarves and gloves,” Butler told the Irvington Herald on Tuesday, Dec. 17. “We would like to thank Councilwoman Jamilah Beasley for stopping by. Also, we would like to thank everyone who played a part in making our coat drive a success by being able to help those in our community who were in need of a coat.”

“It is the desire of our pastor to be able to serve and give back to the community in every aspect,” the church added.

Councilwoman Jamillah Beasley, who stopped by the event, commended the church for all it does for Irvington residents.

“It was great visiting the Believer’s Love Fellowship Church with my granddaughter, Ma’Liyah,” Beasley told the Irvington Herald on Wednesday, Dec. 18. “The church has a dynamic outreach program and Saturday was just another example of their community service. They had new coats and scarves for men, women and children. It’s getting extremely cold out here, so there was definitely a need. I commend and appreciate the church and all they do for the residents of Irvington.”

Photos Courtesy of Patricia Petty