By Mazin Darwish, member of Teen Interfaith Leadership Council

Originally published on

Coats... not something that you would consider valuable, right? Coats are an article of clothing that you can buy at any clothes store. You wear them when it gets cold outside; however, what if it began to get cold, but you didn't have a coat? If so, you would be in for an extremely miserable winter. 

Recently, on Saturday, December 12, I volunteered at Grace Baptist Church in San Jose. The Youth Interfaith Council, that I am a member of, went over and helped serve the community by giving away coats and other clothes to those who needed them. It was a free and respectable way for the homeless and indigent to "shop" and stay warm during the holidays.

When we were all set up, they opened the church doors. People came flooding in; some were without homes, and others just in need of some help. Soup and water were provided to all that came by. I helped many people try on clothes and find good items to take with them. A few of the people I assisted gave me looks I won't forget--looks of pure gratitude. Some even surprised me with a hug. Sometimes, I came upon someone that couldn't speak English very well. Others talked to themselves and had trouble getting around; nevertheless, with hand and face gestures, the volunteers and shoppers managed to communicate with each other. My eyes began to open; I hadn't been exposed to anything like that before.

All the volunteers worked hard. By the end of the day, the event was a huge success. Despite my initial childish anxieties, I am glad to have experienced how great it is to put a smile on someone's face. A lesson that I have learned and that I want to share with you all is that coats shouldn't be taken for granted. For most people, they keep us warm and cuddly when the weather acts otherwise. On the other hand, for the less fortunate, they are used to survive through freezing nights.

The holidays are a time for joy and spreading happiness to all. I would highly recommend, if you are able, to go out and help somebody in need. Believe me, it’ll make your holidays so much merrier!


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