Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County -- St. Vincent De Paul Kitchen Executive Director Msgr. Joseph Kelly helped spread the warmth in Wilkes-Barre on Thursday. That warmth came in the form of blankets. "It's deeply appreciated and I have to tell you that I'm really overwhelmed."
Msgr. Kelly is overwhelmed because he originally expected about 3,000 donated blankets. Instead, he got 4,200 to help the needy through some of the coldest temperatures in recent years. "It's so cold that regardless of how many blankets you have, you're always looking for another one even in our own homes where we have good heat."
The Virginia-based non-profit "Gleaning For The World" donated the blankets which were originally intended for victims of Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Now, people dealing with another harsh weather situation are getting their hands on one. "For those that are on the street, for those that are sleeping in shelter, those that are having difficulty paying for their heat this is a real help," said Msgr. Kelly.
Jose Diaz of Wilkes-Barre lives in an apartment with his wife and young daughter. He took blankets for both of them to help stay warm this winter. "It's very cold. It's freezing outside so we appreciate this help because it's very nice."
Msgr. Kelly expects to hand out 2,500 of the 4,200 blankets over the next week and a half. But the rest will not stay in storage. He expects to spread the warmth throughout other parts of the area. The blankets will be distributed elsewhere in Luzerne County as well as Lackawanna, Wayne and Monroe Counties in the coming days. Msgr. Kelly says there's a good reason that St. Vincent de Paul Kitchen was chosen to receive the blankets. A former Commission on Economic Opportunity worker helped steer the blankets from Virginia to the Wyoming Valley.