WACO, TX – Dozens of homeless Central Texas residents are weathering the cold temperatures this week thanks to local volunteers and volleyball families who lent a helping hand to Mission Waco.
Van Davis, assistant director of wellness at Baylor University and director of a local volleyball training program, teamed up with friends and family to collect about 40 new coats to pass out to the homeless during the holiday season.
The coats were mostly distributed at Mission Waco’s annual Thanksgiving Day meal which was held this year outdoors at the Paul Meyer Center.
“There’s nothing I did by myself,” Davis said.
“A lot of great people, great families showed their support and had a huge hand on this event and I’m so appreciative of everyone who helped out.”
Davis has been part of the effort to collect and pass out coats to the homeless on Thanksgiving for the past 11 years.
The new coronavirus put a slight wrinkle in the plans this year making the process of gathering of the donations a little more difficult.
In the past Van’s volleyball program, consisting of young girls and their families, helped Davis collect the coats while their training program was underway, but this year, there was no training program because of the threat of COVID-19.
Instead, Davis rallied personal friends and also organized a Volley for the Homeless event during which people could come play volleyball for free and bring coats or donations for the effort instead.
“We had the event the week before Thanksgiving and people really showed up to help out,” Davis said.
The 38 homeless members of the community who showed up for the lunch all got to pick out a brand new coat collected by the group following the traditional meal.
Davis said during this streak of cold days she’s more thankful than ever that the group still gathered the coats despite the COVID hurdles.
“There are so many people out there who need a coat,” Davis said.
“Especially this week whenever it’s cold like this. I’m so appreciate of people in the community who help other people in the community who are in need.”
Davis said she’s already looking forward to next year’s event and hopes to have even more coats to keep our neighbors warm.
“I wish I could have a coat for everybody, every homeless person in the community,” she said.
“Everyone there was so happy and so appreciative that we gave them a coat. Most of them put them on when they left the event and that was really special to see.”