The Order of Malta Australian Association created the Coats for the Homeless program to help alleviate the suffering of homeless men and women in cities across the country. Homeless men and women were engaged in the design of a coat to best meet their needs. The Order manufactures several thousand coats each year and ships containers of coats to cities throughout Australia for distribution.
HOMELESSNESS IN OKLAHOMA
While a very difficult population to count accurately, the Homeless Alliance of Oklahoma City estimates between 4,732 and 5,915 people experience homelessness in Oklahoma City every year. This does not include the much larger number of people who are 'couch homeless', seeking temporary shelter from family or friends. The Coats for the Homeless program seeks to provide a direct and meaningful benefit to the homeless population not only in Oklahoma City, but also in the broader metropolitan area.
THE COAT- DESIGNED BY THE HOMELESS FOR THE HOMELESS
Members of the Order of Malta consulted the homeless about what they wanted and needed in a coat. Based on feedback, coats are black, three-quarter length with a hood, quilted and warm, waterproof, comfortable and portable. The color is meant to be inconspicuous, as the homeless indicated their greatest fear is being assaulted in alleys and parks. Secret internal pockets hold valuables. The coats are specifically designed for mobility, allowing for easy movement in an emergency, and can be easily layered in various seasons.
The specially designed coats are manufactured abroad and shipped to Oklahoma City by container. Working in collaboration with the staff and volunteers of Sister BJ’s Pantry, members, candidates and volunteers of the Order will be directly involved in distributing coats to the homeless. We will also rely on existing relationships with Catholic Charities, Jesus House, and other ministries to identify those in need of a coat. In addition to local communities, other Hospitaller regions of the Order of Malta in the United States plan to distribute Coats for the Homeless in their local communities.
Because the coats are shipped via sea freight to the United States, we are required to utilize a 20’ shipping container. The container holds 3,360 coats and we have made a full order of this amount. The budget for manufacturing, import duties, shipping and other expenses approximately $25 per coat.
REQUEST FOR SUPPORT
Members of the Order of Malta are actively working with Sister BJ’s Pantry to implement the Coats for the Homeless program. Please prayerfully consider helping join in this effort to provide for the poorest in our community. Gifts to the Coats for the Homeless program are made payable to Sister BJ’s Pantry designated to the Coats for the Homeless program. Sister BJ’s Pantry is a non-profit corporation and all gifts are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.
Please Give Below Or Make Checks Payable to:
Sister BJ’s Pantry
819 NW 4th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
Memo: Coats for the Homeless
For more information contact:
Peter L. de Keratry, KM