CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Thanks to our NBC12 viewers, a Chesterfield non-profit is now stocked full of winter coats for children, just days after we highlighted their empty closets.
Last week, we told you about Mercy Mall VA. They didn't have any winter coats for kids, so families had to be put on a waiting list.
Now the closets are full - thanks to you!
The girls closet was empty for almost three weeks. Now it is filled with coats, some of them brand new. We were also able to give coats to the former marine who we featured last week. Mercy Mall VA is calling it a "coat miracle!"
"We've had people emailing us, showing up, my porch has had things dropped off on. Just people showing up with van fulls," said Misi Rose.
In the back room, volunteers are sorting through the bags of donations.
"Last week, this coat rack was empty. These are the backstock of coats that are ready to go out when those leave," said Rose.
Now children waiting for a warm coat can be taken off the waiting list. That includes the family of Kelvin Hodges - a former Marine who just moved into a home with his family after being homeless for months.
He did not have enough gas money to drive to Mercy Mall to pick up his items...so we decided to bring it to him. New towels, bed sheets, and most importantly the coats for his kids.
The children wanted to put the coats on right away, and they did not want to take them off. Hodges showed us his home and says everything inside it was donated.
"We have a place, and that's what I'm grateful for," said Hodges.
He is working to fill the children's bedrooms and trying to figure out how to get diapers and other items for his fifth child who is due any day now. The donations make everything a little bit easier.
"We came across this, and God blessed me. That's all I could say," said Hodges.
Mercy Mall still needs household items. They need things like towels and queen-size sheets.
It's starting to feel more like winter, meaning it's time to bundle up. But Mercy Mall VA, a Chesterfield non-profit, needs your help - they have already run out of winter coats for kids.
They say the demand has been a lot higher, and they are having a hard time keeping up. They are asking for more donations.
On Thursday, Kelvin Hodges got some help from Mercy Mall of VA. He has four children, with another child due this month.
For the last six months, the family was homeless.
"For a while, we were staying here, there, hotels, with friends," says Hodges. "The last stay was in a hotel, where basically the hotel was taking all of my disability."
The former Marine says he got help from the VA and just moved into a rental home two weeks ago, but really doesn't have much.
"I lost everything in storage," he said. "[There was] mold. The storage unit even has pests."
Now he's starting over, and Mercy Mall VA in Chesterfield is helping him stock his home and clothe his children.
"I've only got a sofa so far and two beds," says Hodges. "So we're working on it. I'm just glad we have somewhere to put a roof over our heads."
There is something the non-profit cannot provide: winter coats for his children, who are all under seven years old.
Operations Manager Misi Rose showed NBC12 how the closets have been bare for weeks.
"Currently, the biggest need we have is the 2T to 5T, that toddler range," she said.
The need doesn't stop at winter coats for children. Mercy Mall VA also gives basic household items, like towels and sheets, but even those bins are empty.
"The community is great, they respond really well giving to us, donating things that we need, but we're seeing kind of an explosion in need recently," says Rose.
Rose says they serve at least 50 people every day they are open. Mercy Mall VA gives everything away for free and helps families who are homeless, fleeing domestic abuse or have just fallen on hard times.
For now, people like Hodge's family are put on a waiting list, and they all hold onto faith.
If you want to help Mr. Hodges and other families this Christmas please contact Mercy Mall for that as well.
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