Lending a helping hand

Published 10:01 am Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lisa Smith and the First Baptist Church of Ironton are asking the community for help in a winter coat drive. Donations of any size, from child to adult, of new or lightly used coats, mittens and hats are being sought. The giveaway will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 24 inside the church’s Faith and Fitness Center building.


Lisa and Michael Smith were at a local diner getting ice cream for their 5-year-old son, Connor, in August when what Lisa calls the hand of God directed a stranger to reach out to her in a seemingly mundane way.

“He had blue Smurf ice cream and it was all over his face,” Lisa said. “I was trying to get something to clean him up.”

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Watching Lisa’s predicament were Raymond and Dorenea Stewart who had come up from Portsmouth to get a quick meal.

“Dorenea said she thought she had some wipes in her car,” Lisa said. “She saw the Christian bumper sticker on our car and asked where we went to church. I told her we sing in a praise and worship band at First Baptist.”

The Stewarts said they run Appalachia New Day Ministries, a winter coat ministry in Portsmouth, out of the back of a trailer. That’s when divine inspiration struck.

I told her we have the perfect place for you,” Lisa said thinking of the Faith and Fitness Center at her church.

And that is how First Baptist Church of Ironton teamed up with the Stewarts in a new mission — making sure no one in the region goes without a warm coat this winter.

“God has been involved in this from the very first meeting,” Lisa said. “I know God will make a big thing happen in this. I am a mother of four kids. I know how hard it is to buy things, especially coats. I like to help people. This is a good way to start.”

On Saturday, Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the center at the corner of Fourth and Vernon streets, men’s, women’s and children’s coats will be given out to those in need.

Enthusiasm for the giveaway has spread to churches out in the county as their members have been dropping off new and gently used coats at the center. One church has even donated toys to give out to children as their parents pick out the clothing.

“Everybody is stepping up and giving from their heart,” Lisa said.

Anyone wishing to donate coats to the giveaway and not able to bring them to the center can contact Lisa at (740) 643-0837 or the church at (740) 532-1240 and someone will pick up the items. Otherwise clothing can be taken to the church, Printing Express at 1229 S. Third St., or at the Lawrence County Recorder’s office on the second floor of the courthouse.

“I don’t want to turn anybody away,” Lisa said. “I want everybody to have what they need for the winter time.”