Even as fall temperatures fluctuate, one local organization is planning ahead and thinking of others.
The Wesley at Northeastern State University is holding a coat drive through Monday, Nov. 18. This is the third year Rev. Shana Dry and students have organized the activity, which she describes as a simple offering of peace The Wesley volunteers do.
"Our motto is 'showing God's love through serving others,'" said Dry. "Everyone's cold. Everyone needs a jacket. It doesn't matter who they are. The Wesley is all about serving."
Gently used coats of all different sizes - from infants to larger adults - will be accepted at The Wesley, 403 Goingsnake St., through Nov. 18; or in the NSU University Center Underground Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., through Nov. 15.
For the past two years, the group handed the coats out at Feed My Sheep, the free dinner held each Thursday at 5 p.m. in the United Methodist Church Activities Building, 301 W. Delaware St.
"We lined them up on the tables. Lots of people came and they needed a new coat," said Dry.
This year, donations will be split so half will go to the Tahlequah Area Coalition for the Homeless and can be distributed at the Tahlequah Day Center or through the Zoë Institute. The coats will be distributed at Feed My Sheep on Thursday, Nov. 21.
"There are so many walking around town who don't have a coat on," said Dry. "We've had several come to the The Wesley asking for blankets or a coat or something they could wrap around them."
NSU students volunteer to collect the coats, sort them, and distribute them.
Emily Barrett, from Springdale, Arkansas, is a business management major, and she interned at The Wesley last year. This will be her third year volunteering.
"I believe it is important because I see a lot of people, especially the homeless population, without coats," said Barrett. "It's a basic necessity everyone deserves to have - especially the small children in these circumstances. They can't go buy themselves a coat."
Barrett had a table and collection box set up in the UC Underground Monday. She said 30 coats had already been donated during this campaign.
"Last year, we got 65," said Barrett. "It's not just coats. Some people donate vests, hoodies, or jackets."
This year, the coats will be laundered. Dry is working with a local business to have the service donated, but monetary donations will be accepted to cover additional costs, or to purchase more used coats from area thrift stores.
The Wesley at NSU is a ministry of the United Methodist Church.
Every week events, such as Bible study, open forums, game nights, support groups and more, are held at The Wesley. Each Wednesday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., during the NSU school year, The Wesley serves free lunches to 300-350 students and NSU staff members. During finals week, breakfast, lunch, and dinner is offered.