Coats of Kindness: local people helping local people


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – If you’ve driven by Norfolk’s Ocean View Park in the last few days, you may have noticed something different hanging from the gazebo.  They’re not decorations, they’re coats.

It’s an unexpected sight in Ocean View.  Past the water, hanging from the railing of the gazebo: a row of coats waiting to be taken.

“It’s just about loving your neighbor,” said Ocean View resident Brenda Parker.  “This is where I grew up.  This is where my heart is.”

It’s a five-year labor of love for Parker.

“We’ve done it here two times in the past couple of months and we’ve done it at Northside Park,” Parker said.

Coats from her friends and family are making their way to new homes.

Parker said, “Maybe they were a little warmer last night.”

Tuesday, she placed about 40 coats, hats, gloves and scarves on the railing.  Each coat has a tag that reads, “I’m not lost, I’m here to spread some love.  If you need me, please take me.  If you don’t, please leave me for someone who does.”

Today, about half of the coats are gone, but a handful of new ones — from strangers — are there in their places.  “It’s awesome.  It makes my heart smile,” Parker said.

Her project is spreading.

“I like the concept of it because not everybody can have a warm scarf during the winter time, not everybody can have a warm bed to sleep in,” said Charlette Boone, who owns the boutique “Simply OV”.  The boutique is acting as a collection site for coats.

“That’s what OV is.  It’s local people helping local people,” said Boone.

Boone and Parker are friends, now working together to help their neighbors.

“We’re all just one little community and we all are out here to help one another,” said Parker.  “Why wouldn’t we do it?”

To donate coats, you can take them to Simply OV at 440 West Ocean View Avenue.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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