Members of the Main Street Baptist Church in Binghamton are working hard to make sure everyone stays warm this winter, including nearby schoolchildren and those who walk past the church daily.
“God has been so good to us individually and as a church,” said church member Diane Runion, of Binghamton. “He instills that desire to help people.”
Runion serves as the chair of the church’s missions, which is coordinating two projects designed to protect people against the cold this winter. Church members are collecting socks and underwear for pupils at the nearby Horace Mann Elementary School on College Street. They are also collecting hats, mittens and scarves and hanging them outside the church so passersby in need can take them. Some church members knit the items themselves, she said.
Main Street Baptist Church is on the city’s West Side in a neighborhood that has seen better days, Runion said.
“This is kind of a depressed area around here,” she said. “There’s a lot of need.”
This is the second winter in a row that the church has sponsored the winter clothing giveaway, Runion said.
“It was so successful last year,” she said. “People really benefited from it.”
Each item is wrapped in a plastic bag to guard against snow, rain or sleet. Inside each bag is a message from church members: “Stay warm. Main Street Baptist Church.” Items are hung outside the church and secured with clothespins so they don’t blow away.
Anyone who needs winter clothing may take an item. Sometimes all the items are gone in a few hours or by the next day, Runion said.
In addition to the winter clothing drive, the church is also conducting a sock and underwear drive for pupils at Horace Mann Elementary School, Runion said. They’ve already collected enough items to fill two large boxes. Items will be donated to the school sometime later this week.
The church’s missions are always busy doing what they can to help the community, Runion said. One of their year-round projects is Free Clothes and More, a monthly clothing bank that allows those in need to receive other necessary items such as toiletries, paper products and cleaning supplies. Free Clothes and More is held from 10 a.m. until noon on the third Saturday of every month, weather permitting.
Runion showed a visitor one room downstairs filled with clothes. In another room, shelves were piled high with bars of soap, toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, deodorant and laundry detergent.
Runion and other mission members enjoy holding the monthly event and getting to know some of the participants who show up regularly.
“We get to meet a lot of nice people,” she said.
Community service projects such as Free Clothes and More, the hat and mitten drive, and the sock and underwear collection are ways that church members can live out their faith, Runion said.
No matter what ministry the church undertakes, the result is the same: Church members support it, Runion said.
“It’s something people really respond to here. They’re very generous,” she said of church members. “God has put it in their hearts to do that.”
Main Street Baptist Church
Main Street Baptist Church is at 117 Main St. in Binghamton. Sunday services are held at 11 a.m. A Sunday evening service is held at 6. The Rev. Luke Beattie serves as pastor of the church.
For more information, go online to https://mainstreetbaptist.net/ or call the church at 607-723-0031.