Mission and Outreach: Coat Drive
The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas is joining with One Man’s Treasure at the 2016 Diocese Convention on November 5th to help meet the critical needs of indigent men returning to the Dallas area after years of incarceration during the upcoming months– gently used or new winter coats. One Man’s Treasure has delivered a complete set of clothing to 1055 men to date in 2016 and anticipate providing clothing to another 350-400 by the end of the year. We will need more than 650 coats to meet the coat needs of our clients during the upcoming winter months (mid-October through February) and this drive will help meet that need.
We ask that your congregation consider becoming part of our “prayerful hand up” ministry to these returning men by donating MEN’S winter coats and/or gently used or new shoes or work boots that are another critical need. All sizes are needed, with a special emphasis on XL-3XL coats and size 10 to 12 shoes. If your church decides to participate in the drive, your convention delegates can drop off the donations at One Man’s Treasure’s table or the designated carts at the Convention. If that is not convenient, please call 214-532-9819 to arrange a pick up the week before the convention or at any time in the weeks ahead. Any coats that we cannot use in our program will be distributed to The Gathering or other charities for distribution to the homeless.
As we reflect on this year’s convention theme, “Love the Lord your God”, we are reminded of the second part of Jesus’ great commandment found in the Gospels…‘ And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Following Christ’s commandment and His call in Matthew 25:34-40, the individuals and churches throughout the Diocese who serve in One Man’s Treasure’s ministry show that love of their “neighbor” by serving men recently released from prison who are in need and so often overlooked.
Each year, between 8,000- 9,000 men return to the Dallas area after they are released from prison and given only a bus ticket, $100 and a pair of pants and a shirt that may or may not fit. During the winter months, they leave without a warm coat. They are faced with many unique challenges to successful re-entry including the basic necessities of clothing, food, housing, transportation and employment. There are limited, if any, resources available to help them meet those needs. Most return without family support to assist them or to families who are poor and cannot financially assist them with even their basic needs. These challenges can be overwhelming. The mission of One Man’s Treasure is to provide these men with decent clothing that takes care of their daily needs, is appropriate for job interviews and employment, and that can give them a sense of dignity and hope. Each set of clothing is delivered to the client at his residence by a male volunteer (called a shepherd) who takes time to visit with him, referring him to resources for other needs, and demonstrating God’s love. In serving these “neighbors”, we not only are encouraging them during this critical time of transition, but are also helping them become productive members of their community with a broader goal to lower the rate of recidivism (return to prison) and make our communities safer.
Thank you for your consideration in helping us meet the needs of these returning men. The support of the Diocese of Dallas and all the churches who have blessed this ministry with its gifts over the years has been invaluable in our ability to serve and grow in our outreach. This note from Colby, a recent client, expresses the gratitude we all feel for your support. “Unfortunately I haven't had the privilege to meet all of you personally, however due to your commitment to serve those in need I do believe I'm aware of the One behind it all (Matthew 25:36). I thank GOD for the passion He's placed within you and the resources He's provided to you. Thank you One Man’s Treasure for the immeasurable amount of love and sacrifice you all have invested into others. Your work hasn't been done in vain.”
Please call me if you have any questions about the drive or other ways to be part of the ministry. May God bless each of you and His Church as we worship and serve Him.