Church donates coats to kids

Pastors say to be effective they must look outside center

WARREN — Students at Warren City School’s McGuffey PK-8 School will be warm this winter thanks to Victory Christian Center’s Warren Campus donating 200 coats.

The distribution took place at the school.

Pastor Mikel and his wife, Pastor Toni Lagaras, both born and raised in Warren, organized the coat drive. This was the first year the church collected coats and they said they prefer this practical donation to monetary ones because the students can use them immediately.

“We jumped at the opportunity because of our love for McGuffey and the potential to be a blessing once again to the children here,” Lagaras said.

“We are firm believers that the church cannot stay in the building, and when we took on this responsibility of leading the campus a few years ago, we recognized that the need was not just inside the building but outside the building. And so we adopted this phrase, ‘The church has to leave the building,'” Mikel Lagaras said.

“In order to be effective, we believe one of the best ways we can do that is to look for practical ways in the community. One of the biggest needs was what we saw right here in our backyard. The need was staggering and is still affecting so many needy kids.”

The church, which has eight locations, adopted McGuffey three years ago and for the “Operation Warm a Child” project, and is working in partnership with Warren Rotary.

“We have a friend who works within the Rotary program and who attends one of our other Victory campuses,” Lagaras said. “She has been involved in ‘Operation Warm a Child’ for a number of years and recently approached us and asked if this would be something we as a church would be interested in doing.”

The students receiving coats lined up on the stage in the cafeteria and eagerly waited as Lagaras and his wife passed them out. Students immediately put their new coats to show their friends.

Holly Welch, campus leader at McGuffey, said she was grateful to receive the donation.

“We are so very lucky to have Victory Christian Warren Center as our adopter. They are always looking out for how they can help us and with 200 coats, our kids will be warm this winter and we really can’t thank them enough,” she said.

Lagaras said, “We asked the leadership here — the principal and administration — since they live with these students on a daily basis, and they see the need more than we would, to help us decide who were the kids that were coming in poorly dressed, who were the kids that were coming in who didn’t have coats and proper outside attire because we wanted to target some of the kids that needed it and show them the love of god in a practical way.”

Warren Superintendent Steve Chiaro said, “We are grateful to our friends at Victory Christian Center’s Warren Campus for their outstanding generosity and working to meet the needs of our students during the upcoming winter season. Their support is essential in keeping our focus on the whole child and on best meeting the educational needs of our children.”

Lagaras said, “Next year, the goal is bigger. We’d love to provide a coat for every child.”