More than 300 families received donated clothes and other goods at a special Saturday morning parish swap meet in Wilmington last month. 

“This was a way to help struggling families in our neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods,” said Father Claude Williams, O. Pream., pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Church. 

The Feb. 19 event was the brainchild of Debbi Drewry, a parishioner at American Martyrs Church in Manhattan Beach who approached Father Williams in early January with the idea of partnering with Sts. Peter and Paul Church to provide a distribution center in the parish community. 

The consequences of the pandemic have not been easy on parish families, many of whom live below the poverty line, Father Williams said. 

“The past two years of COVID have hit our Wilmington community really hard in different ways, but we have also seen God’s faithfulness in these difficult times and how generous God’s people are with each other,” said Father Williams. 

A South Bay family at the Feb. 19 swap meet with a volunteer from Sts. Peter and Paul. (Father Claude Williams)

Some of that generosity was on display that Saturday morning. Drewry, who recently launched a nonprofit, “Deb’s Donations Inc.,” coordinated the gathering and distribution of clothing and other goods in Sts. Peter and Paul’s parking lot.

With the help of volunteers from St. Eugene Church in South LA and American Martyrs Church, a truckload of new and lightly used clothes was distributed within hours to visitors who were only charged a $1 entrance fee.

“There are many generous people in our community who are ready to share, but often these same people don’t always know where or how to give their particularly nice things,” said Drewry.