NEWARK, NJ — The Mercy House, a resource and referral center operated by the Archdiocese of Newark’s Respect Life Office, distributed more than 300 free coats and other winter wear to children and adults in need during its annual Coats and Candy Giveaway on Oct. 25.
Though the event did not officially begin until 11 a.m., a large group of people gathered outside The Mercy House’s Newark location at 620 Clinton Ave. four hours early just to reserve a place in line. Once inside the building, they picked out a new or gently used coat for each of their family members who required one. They also received hats, gloves, scarves, sweaters and other winter apparel. And because Halloween was right around the corner, everyone left with a small bag filled with sweet treats.
“We do this giveaway every year because there’s always a need for it,” said Cheryl A. Riley, director of the Respect Life Office and The Mercy House. “In the weeks leading up to this year’s event, we saw a lot of people coming into The Mercy House who had no coats — including little kids. And we serve a lot of migrants from hot weather countries who don’t even know how cold New Jersey gets. We make sure everyone has what they need to stay warm in the winter.”
All clothing was donated by archdiocesan employees, parishes and individual donors. This included more than 150 coats contributed by the parishioners of St. Stephen Church in Kearny as well as roughly 50 coats collected through a charity drive at the Archdiocese’s Pastoral Center in Newark. Additionally, Accem Warehouse in Bayonne donated 140 boxes of new sweaters.
Photos Courtesy of Sean Quinn/Archdiocese of Newark