Late fall and winter are a time of flurried activity for area churches, as the lower temperatures and season of giving combine to provide opportunities to engage and assist the community.
Little Hocking United Methodist Church's seventh annual coat giveaway started Friday with a strong turnout.
"We've given away about 250 coats in the first two hours," said Lois Knadler, outreach chairwoman for the church.
The church started the giveaway with 685 winter coats, most of them for children, in addition to items like winter clothes, boots and gloves. Coats were collected at several locations in the community recently, and church members purchased items at yard sales throughout the year, using money raised through an annual chili cook-off.
"We want to reach out to the community and help people that need a winter coat for themselves or their children," said Knadler, who has been participating in the event for the last six years. What keeps her coming back is "seeing the excitement in the children's faces when they find a coat they really like."
The giveaway continues from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the church on the corner of Federal Road and Ohio 124, as well as 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12. (An incorrect schedule appears elsewhere in today's edition.) There are no income requirements.
Lawrence Baptist Church on Ohio 26 in Dart is having a giveaway from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday that includes clothes, toys, baby supplies, household items and some furniture. Gilman United Methodist Church at 312 Gilman Ave. in Marietta will also offer a giveaway of clothing for all ages, as well as household goods, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Other churches hold craft shows and events to raise money for their work in the community and beyond.
St. Luke's Episcopal Church will hold its annual Christmas bazaar from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Crafts and baked goods made by church members will be sold, with the proceeds benefiting programs like the local food pantry and Salvation Army. The church has also recently contributed money and clothing to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, said Carol Cisler, treasurer of St. Luke's Episcopal Church Women group.
In addition to the fundraising angle, preparing for and working at the event is a time of fellowship, Cisler said.
"It's a good way for the women of the church to get to know each other," she said.
Cisler has participated for eight or nine years, but said one church member in her 70s remembers her mother and grandmother being active in the bazaar.
Similar events will be going on throughout the season, including Our Lady of Mercy's Catholic Women's Club's 22nd annual craft show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, at the church hall on Washington County 60, one mile west of Lowell. A number of local crafters will be featured in addition to home-cooked food served all day.