Baby, it’s cold outside….


It’s 17 degrees here today in Atlanta, and feels like 2. We can’t get our cars up our steep driveway because it’s covered in ice. My camera (always sketchy) froze on yesterday’s date. And all across the country, there have been record snowfalls and freezes. Brrrrrrrrrr!

Okay, so now imagine that you’re homeless. Or you don’t have a winter coat because it doesn’t (usually) get cold where you live, or you just don’t have the money. Actually, I can’t imagine, but I do know we are called to do something about it – not by me, but by John the Baptist in the Bible:

3 jackets I found in 2 minutes.


And the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”

He answered and said unto them, “He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none. And he that hath meat, let him do likewise.”

Okay, that’s pretty clear. So today I’m going to look in my closets, and dig out the coats that are no doubt sitting there, almost never used. I suspect we have half a dozen.

How many clothes does one person need?


And honestly, how many clothes does one person really need? (Lulu, don’t answer that.)

Then (if I can find a way to get out of my stupid driveway) I’m going to follow my computer’s advice and head for the nearest mission or shelter to drop them off (I called first to confirm that they’re accepting coats) — along with my daily donation of $100.  In my case, that would be the Atlanta Union Mission, at 2353 Bolton Rd. NW, Atlanta GA 30318.

Atlanta Union Mission was started in the Great Depression (unlike this not-so-great one) and now serves as many as 1,070 men, women and children a day with emergency shelter, residential recovery and transitional housing. My $100 will pay for almost 40 meals — and since I’m sure they’ll be flooded with people in need, this is a good time to give. Almost every area has a mission or shelter so it’s pretty simple to find one near you, no matter where you live.

I like to think of somebody in need snuggling up in one of our coats on this bitterly cold day. It gives me a good warm feeling.

6 thoughts on “Baby, it’s cold outside….

  1. We have a local coat drive in our community of 6,000. Over the years as my children out grow their coats I’ve taken them to the coat drive (the coats that is, not the children).
    Every once and a while I’ll see a coat on another child that looks like one my kids had. It warms my heart and makes me smile. Not only is the coat helping someone else but it brings back wonderful memories for me . . . just like today’s blog did!

    • Jodee — You should read a book called The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz, who started The Acumen Fund. It’s such a beautiful story about an experience much like yours, looking at a coat that looks like one of your children’s … giving is contagious!! xoxoox b

      • Thanks! I put that on my “list”. Didn’t you say on CNN your blog was now a book? If yes, is it now published?

  2. Thank you so much Betty thinking of the thousands of people that are cold this winter! As our numbers rise in the shelters our need for support rises.
    Thanks again and please let us know if you would like to come down for a tour some time!

  3. Thank you for your terrific work Betty. Coming off of the coldest week of this winter season, the demand on emergency services certainly increases when the weather turns. Our facilities, My Sister’s House and The Shepherd’s Inn provided mats, cots and temporary housing for up to 100 additional homeless men, women and children each night.

    Thank you for your efforts to meet basic needs at critical junctures with our neighbors living without a permanent home. We know the time spent in the security and safety of our emergency centers is an opportunity to invite individuals to change their lives and seek help to recover from destructive life choices and circumstances that have tried the roots of their emotional security. We know many of those we have met in the past week have simply hit an economic bump in the road and their time at the Atlanta Union Mission could be the ticket to full transition back to independent living.

    Thank you for taking a year to put your resource and heart into action. I personally am grateful and inspired.


  4. It’s VERY cold in Philadelphia, too! Every 1st Saturday we take collected clothing & food from our own Epsicopal Church to S. Mary’s Bainbridge Street in So. Philly. Fr. Julius Jackson’s soup kitchen and prison ministry is a true blessing. Happy New Year, Betty. This is amazing.

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