York, PA -
The woman sat in her kitchen in a heavy sweatshirt, a spread of medication bottles and a stack of word finds laid out in front of her. Pictures of grandkids lined the walls.
Behind her, the oven door hung open, two red coils heated to 300 degrees.
"I do mind the cold," Arlene Johnson said.
Melinda Gorog has heard that before, she said. The York Rescue Mission development director -- a gift-wrapped package and a bag of apples in-hand -- told Johnson that's why she stopped by her Parkway-area home.
That's why the gift in her arms was a blanket.
The Mission each year gives away about 6,000 new blankets to people around York. Last weekend, Gorog organized events in which locals received nearly 5,500 of those blankets at several locations.
On Thursday morning, she planned to give away seven.
Those, she explained, would go to shut-ins who couldn't get out to pick up a blanket. They're mostly seniors, she said. And most like the company and conversation almost as much as the blanket.
"We just want them to know someone in York County cares about them, someone was thinking about them today," Gorog said, knocking on another door.
That was the home of Barbara Nelson and Julian Glover. A red wagon full of toys won at bingo sat by the couch, and plastic breathing tubes snaked up from an easy chair. Nelson said the couple has been together for 40 years, and Glover has long struggled with emphysema.
"I don't know how I put up with him," she said, sharing a warm smile.
From there it was on down the street, Gorog's cellphone ringing all the way. Right now she's planning a Christmas Eve event to serve 1,400 kids, providing them toiletries and sleeping bags. There are boxes of candy in her office for another project, and it turns out the Mission's chaplain needs oral surgery.
"I'll take care of it today," Gorog said into the phone.
First, though, there was one more blanket and a stop at Martha Watts' house, where a young man unexpectedly answered. Martha's in the hospital, he explained. She's been there a while.
Gorog turned from the stoop with a blanket and bag of apples in her hand.
"OK," she said. "We better get over to the hospital."
The Rescue Mission will sponsor the Children's Christmas Outreach program starting at 9 a.m. on Christmas Eve.
The Mission, at 373 W. Market St., expects to serve more than 1,400 children, providing a backpack full of goods as well as a sleeping bag and blanket. Donations for the program are still welcome.
The Rescue Mission will also offer a Christmas Eve church service, set for 3 p.m. in the chapel. A meal will be served following the service.
For more information or to make a donation, call 845-7662.