Detroit — Hundreds stood in line for hours on Saturday morning outside Second Ebenezer Church in 35-degree weather for a free winter coat.
The event was the culmination of the second annual Molina HOPE Winter Coat Giveaway after a nine-week campaign that collected more than 5,100 new coats.
“We had such a great response from last year, we did it again with more donations and preregistrations,” said Christine Surdock, president of Molina Healthcare of Michigan. “We understand there is a significant demand and we just want everyone to take care of themselves and the first way to do that is by staying warm this winter.”
Surdock said they had 3,300 people preregister and have nearly 2,000 coats to give away to general public.
Rebecca Kuchar, director of Community Engagement at Molina Healthcare of Michigan, said over 600 volunteers including their employees, Second Ebenezer, local high schools, Salvation Army, Detroit Police and FBI donated their service to the six-hour-giveaway.
“It’s really just a labor of love and a unique event,” Kuchar said. “It’s not often you see public and private partnerships working together on the same cause to benefit a small community.”
Coats were collected from Macy’s, Clothes for Souls, employees and distributed to the public in the church’s sanctuary for free along with free scarves, hats and gloves from Magna International, which donated $80,000 to the coat drive.
“It’s not easy shopping on a budget with five kids, especially two bring twins,” said Khadija Ratcliff, 28, of Detroit. “But this was great and everyone loves their coats.”
Along with the winter coats, the event also gave attendees free haircuts, crafting and photos with Dr. Cleo, Molina’s cat doctor mascot.
“Coats can be so expensive and with growing kids, it’s difficult to buy every year,” said Jamiliah Steward, 41, of Detroit. “My daughter Tia is so happy, she got the same coat her best friend has.”