The second annual Operation Warmth took place on Saturday, Jan. 4, with a total of 434 items including coats (212), hats and gloves distributed. The distribution targeted homeless veterans and those in need in the City of Niagara Falls.
Each package was organized by size and included a coat, hat, Bible and encouraging note. There were multiple distribution sites throughout downtown Niagara Falls manned by volunteers. The Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission, at 1023 Ferry Ave., was the main distribution point and included breakfast, lunch and dinner served by the mission for those in need.
John Cooper Jr., organizer of the event said, "This is people of the Niagara Falls area taking care of their own especially during times of extreme weather."
Cooper, a student at Baptist Bible College and Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pa., said, "It is important that we not only meet the physical needs but also the emotional and spiritual needs of those less fortunate in Niagara Falls."
The Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission is dedicated to proclaiming the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ to the homeless and needy of Niagara Falls. Many local churches and volunteers support the mission and its efforts to assist those in need.
"The leadership and staff at the Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission were greatly blessed to work with 'Operation Warmth' for the second year. The mission depends upon volunteer services for many of our programs and the Cooper family has been a great blessing to us on more than this annual occasion," said Shaun Smith, executive director of the mission.
"A good proportion of those we serve daily are veterans (from the Vietnam era forward), and we fully expect to service increasing numbers of vets due to increased military conflicts overseas. This includes men and now women as well, especially those who are homeless and struggle with PTSD," he said. "We're very grateful to the Cooper family who have such a wonderful devotion to those who have faithfully served our country!"