The Winter Coat and Clothing Drive organizer Tammy Warburton left holds up a child’s snowsuit with the collection of donations (in the basket and hung to its right) received at the Algonquin Outfitters in Haliburton which were part of an effort to allow people to stay warm this winter. /DARREN LUM Staff

Community collection warms its citizens

By Darren Lum

It’s amazing what inspiration and a community effort can do towards ensuring everyone is warm this winter.

Minden resident Tammy Warburton the Winter Coat and Clothing Drive organizer  is small in stature  but a giant when it comes to her passion to help others.

The Haliburton born and raised woman  has been simply amazed at the generosity and the co-operation of local businesses in Haliburton and Minden in her efforts to help those less fortunate with the second year for her drive.

Last year when she gave winter coats to children there was an unforgettable reaction that made all her efforts worth it.

“It was like Christmas they were so excited” she said.

The official pick up of items was on Saturday Nov. 14 in Haliburton and Minden.

The collection included  boots hats mitts snow pants scarves warm sweaters socks shoes and winter coats for children and adults. Articles needed to be clean and in good condition.

She said the collection resulted in “at least 150 coats 30 sweaters 100 hats and mitts and 15 [pairs] of boots.”

SIRCH helped by donating the pick up locations such as the St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Minden and  SIRCH’s new downtown hub located at 2 Victoria St. (formerly Touch of Class Spa).

Warburton started her drive because she thought there was a need to be met.

It distributed 12 coats in Haliburton and 53 in Minden. She didn’t count hats mitts and boots.

This year there were four coats given away in Haliburton and only 14 coats in Minden. She counted 10 sweaters and three boots given in Minden while in Haliburton there were four coats and two boots given away.

The surplus will be given away in December with the Christmas Hampers in Minden and to the SIRCH thrift store in Bancroft.

Warburton appreciates everyone who donated and partnered in this effort whether it was to promote post flyers about the collection or make space to receive donations.

This includes both local radio stations that promoted the drive daily Minden businesses such as Foodland Generator Solutions and Chaulk Woodworking while in Haliburton Foodland Todd’s Independent Grocers Haliburton Automotive Haliburton Highlands Secondary School and J. D. Hodgson Elementary School that helped out.

Algonquin Outfitters added an additional incentive through its own annual Winter Coat Drive to support local charities.

They not only received 20 coats for the cause (as of last Friday) but encouraged winter article donations to the clothing drive offering a $50 gift card for every winter coat purchase with a insulated coat donation. The customer also receives five per cent on the total purchase price in reward points that can be used on a future purchase.

Regional manager Chris Varga was inspired when he first learned a few weeks ago of the store’s long-standing promotion and wanted to bolster the Haliburton effort.

“I was so inspired by the idea I made a personal promise to ensure its success here in Haliburton. I am genuinely proud to work for a company that cares about the communities that it is a part of and aims to  make a positive contribution” he said. “Many people in our own communities still struggle to afford warm clothing for their families. I have personally experienced financially difficulties which I have had to rely on the kindness and generosity of others. It is rewarding to be able to pay it forward.”

Varga said the store’s promotion is available at any Algonquin Outfitters location and will continue the rest of the month. Additional donations will go to anyone who still needs warm clothing.

Warburton said she can’t say enough good things about Varga.

“He has been promoting the coat drive right along with his own promotion. He is an amazing person who wants to help the people of the county” she said.