Dozens Of Families In Chicago Heights Are Provided Winter Coats, Food and Health Awareness Education

State Rep. Debbie Myers-Martin is picture with a Supporter of the BJ McCoy-Thomas Initiative.  The BJ McCoy Initiative supports needed families by provided food and coat drives.  Photo provided by Algernon H. Penn
State Rep. Debbie Myers-Martin is picture with a Supporter of the BJ McCoy-Thomas Initiative. The BJ McCoy Initiative supports needed families by provided food and coat drives. Photo provided by Algernon H. Penn

Dozens Of Families In Chicago Heights Are Provided Winter Coats, Food and Health Awareness Education 

(CHICAGO HEIGHTS, IL.) Highlighting the needs of struggling families, the faith community and government came together
on Friday to provide food, winter coats and health awareness education.

Brother’s Keeper Outreach Church and Bloom Township held “The 2nd Annual Billie BJ McCoy-Thomas Initiative” in Chicago Heights, IL Friday afternoon. Their efforts helped in a big way to fill the gap for many who are struggling with food insecurity and other issues, many of whom have been struggling even prior to the pandemic.

Billie BJ McCoy Thomas passed away in November last year of COVID-19. However, several years earlier BJ had also been diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis and given six months to live. She defied the odds, by volunteering and working to raise awareness of the disease.

Many believed that this lung disease was caused by smoking,
but BJ was not a smoker. However, she did have Rheumatoid Arthritis since her early twenties. When combined with Covid-19, both diseases can be deadly; and this was the case for BJ.

As a result, in honor of BJ’s life, her father Chief Apostle, Dr. William McCoy-Pastor of Brother’s Keeper Outreach Church; her immediate family, friends, and church family have decided to continue to this multifaceted effort by naming this food and coat drive after her for the second straight year.

BJ’s sister Vanessa Mc- Coy-Pulphus stated this event, “is a continuance of BJ’s legacy. She believed in feeding the homeless, education and awareness of those in need. What we know for sure is that there are over two hundred diseases that lead to Pulmonary Fibrosis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is one
of them.”


In regard to local food insecurity McCoy-Pulphus said, “we are such dire need within this community. People are just thankful that they can help with food and coats whenever they do.” One
resident who chose to remain anonymous said that many
food pantry’s have food on Monday and are out of food
by Wednesday.

According to State Rep. Debbie Myers-Martin (38th District) who was there to donate coats to the event said,” There is a great need in our community. There is a great need for food; there is a great need for clothing and outer wear. I’m happy
to be here and I’m happy to support the efforts of the
community.”

Several elected officials came to support the event. Those who attended the food and coat drive were Bloom Township Supervisor T.J. Somers; Bloom Township Trustees Jackie
Stewart and David Garcia; IL State Representative Debbie
Martin-Meyers and Chicago 3rd Ward Alderwoman Pat
Dowell.

Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzales and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle also gave support
by supplying food and coats to those who needed
them.

Community partners supporting this event include the Pulmonary Foundation, Auntie’s House of Learning
and Wessal Services for Youth and Seniors, Inc.

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