This October, Americans Helping Americans® Executive Director Beth Tessema and staff had the opportunity to visit two of our partners in northeast Georgia to witness the distribution of hundreds of winter coats and more to families in need.

Over the course of two days, Caring Hands Ministries in Cleveland and L.A.M.P. Ministries in Gainesville distributed a total of 670 winter coats, 350 pairs of shoes, 250 blankets and hundreds of hats, scarves and pairs of shoes as well as containers of laundry detergent with an in-kind value of more than $53,000.

We are writing you to share our experience of hearing the words “thank you” over and over and over again because it is not us who deserve it, but you.

Within a period of two hours, Caring Hands Executive Director Ann Fleming and her team of volunteers had successfully and efficiently distributed coats and the other items to more than 200 individuals.

As Ann told us, “You are saving and changing lives by making this help possible. Local emergency services says that a warm coat is all that kept a homeless lady from freezing to death…a coat you helped to provide.”

The next day at L.A.M.P. Ministries, Executive Director Mary Mauricio oversaw their distribution in the parking lot of a nearby church.

As Mary told us, “Homeless people are crying from gratitude because now they have a coat – a good one – and they are not embarrassed to wear it. For those sleeping outside, this is lifesaving.”

And for Beth it was gratifying and heartwarming to be part of a team – you, Americans Helping Americans®, Caring Hands and L.A.M.P. – which as a result of all of us doing our part, hundreds of children and adults in need will have no need to worry about how they’ll be keeping warm this winter.

On behalf of all of them, we pass along their thanks and share their smiles.