Coat drive a success for local scout

Starr's Mill High School's Ray Loya as part of an Eagle Scout project spearheaded an effort collected 415 coats and blankets for homeless men and families in downtown Atlanta.

For his Eagle Scout project, Ray Loya decided to warm the hearts of people down on their luck, people who had no place to go.

And by all measures he succeeded and then some, providing 415 blankets and jackets to homeless men and families in downtown Atlanta. His initial goal was 300.

Loya came up with the idea because his church does outreach programs in Atlanta, serving food to the homeless, and he knew there weren’t many jackets to hand out.

Megadoor in Peachtree City was set up as a collection point, and it was there that a local family showed up in need of jackets. Their need was met, Loya said.
“It was kind of cool that I could give them some jackets before we even really got started,” Loya said.

Providence United Methodist Church also collected coats from its members, Loya said. Also, Col. Timothy Tarchick of the 94th Airlift Wing at Dobbins Air Force Base provided a “huge” amount of jackets as well, Loya said.

The jackets were distributed to homeless men in downtown Atlanta with the help of several Scouts and adults, and leftover women’s and children’s jackets were given to the Gateway homeless shelter, Loya said.

Loya, a junior at Starr’s Mill High School, said the experience was a good one, especially seeing the reactions from those who needed jackets.
“Everyone was very thankful for what they got,” Loya said.

And as for Loya, the experience made him appreciate the blessings in his life.

He was also thankful to Providence UMC, Megadoor, and Col. Tarchick for their assistance in the project.

“I just have a big thanks for everyone who helped,” Loya said.