GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Ahead of dropping winter temps, one Gulfport church is making sure children and adults in South Mississippi stay warm.
"The Lord put this on my heart August 1," said the Rev. James DeFlanders of Morning Star Baptist Church. "I decided that it was something I wanted to do, because if it got as cold as it got hot this summer, people was going to be in bad shape."
The move on his heart — a coat drive.
Sponsored by the church's prison ministry, DeFlanders has collected nearly 100 coats for the November event. Donations have not only come from the community, but also from area retail stores such as Belk and Edgewater Mall.
Additionally, DeFlanders says Exclusive Cleaners has also donated cleaning services.
"These coats are going to be given to homeless, and anybody who may need a coat. We have a lot of children's coats as well," noted DeFlanders.
Though the prison ministry has not be active due to a recent pastoral transition in the church, as well as the closure of the prison work center, DeFlanders says he felt called to help those in need.
"I was so overwhelmed about doing something for somebody as a ministry and when the Lord put this on my heart, I came immediately and asked the pastor if I could make an announcement," added DeFlanders. "I did, and people responded. I've had people send me coats from California."
Coats and other winter items such as scarves and gloves may be dropped off at the church, located at 2050 Thornton Avenue in Gulfport, Tuesday - Thursday from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The drive will be held at Morning Star Baptist on Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. Individuals must be present to get a coat.
For more information, contact Rev. DeFlanders at 228-547-1271.