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Community Clothing Drive for Syrian Refugees Feb. 8-10

A community drive to collect used clothes and other items for Syrian children and women in refugee camps will be held Feb. 8-10 at the United Christian Parish, 11508 North Shore Drive, Reston.

"We have heard about the freezing temperatures and harsh conditions in the refugee camps and we know the needs are great," said Fran McElvey, chair of the church's Missions Ministry. "We hope that caring people throughout our community will donate lots of warm clothes for children and women."

Besides used and new clothing, boots and shoes, blankets, towels, sleeping bags, tents and cooking pots are needed. It would be helpful if items are wrapped in large plastic bags. Financial donations for shipping costs are also needed. Checks may be made out to UCP and marked "For Syrian relief."

Hours of the drive will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8; Saturday, Feb. 9; and Sunday, Feb. 10. Donations will be received at an exterior door off the back parking lot.

The drive was sparked by Adnan (Dan) Bishara, originally of Syria, who has lived in Reston in 2009 and attends the United Christian Parish.  Bishara said both the number of refugees and their needs continue to increase.

"There are now some 137,000 refugees living in tents, in weather that part of the world has never had before, and children are dying. They urgently need our help to get through the winter."

The United Christian Parish is an ecumenical church uniting four denominations: United Methodist, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  For more information, call the church office at 703-620-3065.