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Seems like the cooler weather of Autumn has arrived.

Have you seen some of the leaves changing colors and plants that thrive on long, sunny days dying back? By this time of year, many of you have checked the filters in your furnace, looked for gaps in caulking around windows and doors and started basic preparation for winter. The goal is to make the transition from summer to winter to ensure our houses and clothing will provide the insulation we need from the cold.

How many of you might make the transition of moving summer clothing into a closet and bringing long-sleeve shirts and jackets out of storage? Not long ago the Gospel reading told us how John the Baptist responded to questions from newly baptized of basic obligations they now had. He reminded them (and us) that we should be helping those in need.

In this narrative, we read that if we have two coats, we are to give one to a person who has none.

Was it a coincidence that this reading was placed right at this time when we are preparing for the season’s change? Most likely no, although the words certainly reminded me of another way we can help the homeless and needy in our area.

How many homeless souls would you say live in our neighborhoods? At one meeting I recently attended, we were reminded that a number of students at high schools are homeless. They live in cars or tents around large parking lots and behind stores. People have asked how we can help them.

Of course necessities such as socks, gloves and basic undergarments are graciously welcomed. But I keep thinking about those coats.

Maybe there are others reading this who might be rearranging their closets at home. If so, perhaps you might also need extra space in the sweater or sweatshirt drawer.

What about making room by giving away your extra items to those who need them?

Donating your seldom used cool and cold weather items to a local charitable organization that has clothing closets might just be the answer to giving you more storage space at home. Unknowingly, we’ll be following the way of John the Baptist, Jesus and modern day saints; joining those who are always looking for ways help those in need.

As a reminder to all, if clothing is usable, let’s also help our environment by heeding the call to “re-use, repurpose and recycle” by donating those extra items you’re not using.

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The Rev. Peter Mark Gdula is a deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania.

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