Thomas Smith of Cedar Park stood in line with more than 50 people waiting outside Philadelphia Police Department's 19th District station at 61st and Thompson streets. Smith was one of hundreds of community members who received donated clothes, food and other items from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Smith, 62, is unemployed and said he hopes to pick up some warm clothes for the cold weather. He heard about the giveaway event from another outreach group.
Inside the police station, people browsed through tables of gently used or brand-new items to clothe their families. Frances Williams, of Overbrook, who is the founder and program director of Do Over Ministry
, organized the event, called “Helping Hands Project.”
The ministry has a mission to help the homeless regardless of their past.
"The mission is no matter what your situation is, you're not stuck in that position," Williams said.
For the past five years, Williams and church volunteers from the Greater Philadelphia Area work together in an effort to serve the homeless of West Philadelphia at the annual event. The ministry team also holds a Christmas in July donation drive.
Throughout the year Williams collects clothing donations from churches, friends and co-workers. She stores the donations in her basement for the Helping Hands Project every fourth Saturday of January. Last year she said the ministry served nearly 300 people.