A white Republican state lawmaker joined two black Democrats to give out coats and clothes to the needy in downtown Charleston on Sunday.

"The folks in Washington that are running our country into the ground need to take note of what we're doing here," said Rep. Chip Limehouse, a Republican from Charleston. "It's just sad that Washington can't operate on the level that we do."

Limehouse teamed up with Rep. Wendell Gilliard and Sen. Robert Ford, two black Democrats from Charleston, to promote the 10th annual Coat and Clothes Giveaway for the needy on New Year's Day. Several hundred volunteers and recipients turned out in the yard at the city housing complex across from Crisis Ministries.

Tables were piled with clothes, groceries and free hot dogs, and racks were filled with coats. Christian music played in the background.

"It's a strong message that people in Washington should take note of," said Gilliard, who started the event 10 years ago. Ford also was there.

Ministry Without Walls, which organizes the annual Convoy of Hope around the Lowcountry, helped get the word out to the churches. Of course, the mission was about more than giving out clothes and food.

"I'd say about 15 percent get saved and get off the streets," said David Jones, a longtime volunteer who owns a trucking company and hauled in the generator for the sound system.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.