Through a grant obtained from Operation Warm, a national program that provides winter coats to children in need, New Genesis Rock of Love Ministries received new coats that they are now distributing to children in the Milford area. Pastor Dupree Johnson explained that the sees a definite need for this type of program.
“When kids come here and are able to pick the coat they want, in the color they want, you can just see the morale boost in their faces,” Johnson said. “There are kids coming in here with no coats at all, wearing layers of sweaters and sweatshirts to keep warm. One young man told me kids would stop bullying him now since he finally had a nice coat to wear.”
Johnson explained that programs like this are extremely beneficial in the Milford community. It gives children whose families may be struggling to pay rent or buy food the opportunity to get a new winter coat. Not only will the coat keep the child warm, it also promotes wellness, protecting a child from the cold winter air.
“During this time of COVID, this is especially important,” Johnson said. “These are kids whose parents may have lost their jobs, who are really struggling, some who never had to struggle before. These are the kinds of programs we are called to do here in Milford. It is why we don’t call ourselves a church, but a ministry as we feel our duty in life is to help those less fortunate.”
New Genesis Rock of Love just finished a food program, giving away 3,000 food baskets during the months of November and December.
“We had excellent support from our legislators and the city,” Johnson said. “Representative Bryan Shupe, the Mayor and other leaders were out here handing out food baskets. They allowed us to close down the parking lot across the street so that people could drive up and get the food they needed. It was well organized, and it helped us generate a list of families who could also benefit from other projects, like the coat giveaway. We also partnered with Milford School District who helped us distribute coats to children in need.”
The coats provided through the ministry are new, manufactured with funds donated to Operation Warm who then ship the coats to organizations who distribute them. The group is a national non-profit that partners with compassionate individuals, community groups and corporations who want to provide emotional warmth and the hope of a brighter future. Children who receive the coats are able to gain confidence that enables them to socialize as well as succeed. According to the organization, 94 cents of every dollar goes directly to support the coat program.
This year, Operation Warm has expanded their program to offer shoes to children in need. They are currently accepting donations in order to raise $50,000 to provide free shoes to children whose families may not be able to afford to replace old, outgrown shoes. According to the organization, one in five children live in a household that struggles to meet essential costs, such as housing, heat and healthcare. Those needs take priority over other needs, such as clothing, shoes and coats.
“We will be reaching out to Operation Warm regarding the shoe program as well,” Johnson said. “Whatever we can do to support those who need help, we plan to do.”
Anyone who is interested in obtaining a coat for their child should schedule an appointment with the ministry by calling 302-491-6730. They can then pick up their coat at the ministry location at 18 Southwest Front Street, next door to My Sister’s Fault bakery. Donations to Operation Warm for the new shoe program can be made through their website. Johnson stated that donations are also welcome through the ministry for Operation Warm as well as other projects they manage. More information can be found by emailing Newgensisrockoflove@gmail.com.