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Local church giving winter backpacks to people experiencing homelessness

The bags, filled with wool hats, wool gloves, toiletries, and hand warmers are being given to people who are in shelters and living on the streets.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Volunteers at St. Peter's Catholic Church are packing 400 backpacks to be distributed to people experiencing homelessness this Christmas.

“It’s nothing that is hard to do. If you’re called to do it, it’s easy," said volunteer coordinator Robert Keeder.

Keeder says he's been doing an annual bag distribution at St. Peter's for 36 years. He says when it first started, there weren't many resources available in the area to help people experiencing homelessness.

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“We realized that because of that, there was gonna be a greater need because no one was doing it. So, we decided to step forward and say 'okay, can we make a difference?'" said Keeder.

The bags are filled with wool hats, wool gloves, toiletries, and hand warmers. They are being given to people who are in shelters and living on the streets of downtown Columbia.

Members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society gathered this evening to assemble gift bags for guests of their 36th Annual...

Posted by The Basilica of Saint Peter on Tuesday, December 21, 2021

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“I think it will make a warmer winter for them," said volunteer Kelly Tillis. “We joined the church and this was just part of what’s going on at the church. We liked the ministries that were here and wanted to get involved."

The distribution takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Christmas Day at the church. 

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