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By Reggie Ross, staff writer

WINONA, Miss. – Member of the Coila Baptist Church are coming to the aid of West Virginians that were affected by the recent coal mining layoffs.

Members of Coila Baptist Church have begun extensive mission work and hope their work will not only help those affected by the widespread layoffs but put warmth in homes as well.

Coila Baptist members Deborah Holt and Dwight Blakely were together at the church late Monday afternoon and expressed the need for additional items for those affected. Blakely’s husband, the late Billy Blakely, was the minister at the church for more than 30 years.

“We’re collecting for those people in that area due to the closing of coal mines and lack of employment,” Holt said. “We are trying to help relieve the burden of poverty and the loss of dignity suffered by the people of Appalachia who through no fault of their own, struggle to meet the basic needs of everyday life.”

Volunteers will be on site at Coila Baptist Church to receive donations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Feb. 13. According to Holt, donors can make other arrangements to fit their schedule. The delivery of the items will take place on Feb. 14 and 15.

The collection of the items is a part of the Appalachian Outreach, Inc., a charitable relief and support organization. Items become available through donations from individuals, civic groups, churches and businesses. The goal is to be a reflection of God’s love to meet the basic needs of the communities.

“Everyone is encouraged to search their hearts and ask, ‘What can I do to help?’,” Holt said. “Look around and see what items haven’t been used or items that you no longer need. Someone else can use it.”

Items needed include, but not limited to: Clothing of all sizes, winter clothes, jackets, sweaters, coats, caps, hats, gloves, shoes, boots, diapers and all baby items.

For more information contact Coila Baptist members Deborah Holt at 237-6036, Regina Scott at 237-4528, Dwight Blakely at 237-4248 or Rev. Perry Irvin at 475-6031.

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