By Darren Lum
No one should have to decide between staying warm this winter and paying for rent and food.
That’s the sentiment behind the SIRCH Community Services’ fifth annual Share the Warmth Coat Drive, which takes warm clothing donations such as winter coats, boots, toques, vests, snow pants, mitts and gloves to give to individuals in need.
SIRCH’s coat drive co-ordinator Rebecca Anderson said the drive takes away some of the stress related to choosing between buying winter clothing and paying for essentials such as rent and food.
“It can be extremely stressful to spend what you have left financially just to keep your family warm when you’re not sure if you’re going to be employed in six months. What is the economy going to look like and will I be able to keep my job and all the other stressors,” she said.
Last year’s drive resulted in a massive giveaway of winter clothing with 335 coats, 311 gloves, 291 toques and 44 pairs of boots distributed.
Drop off clean articles of clothing from Nov. 1 to Nov. 12 at either Dollo’s Foodland, Easton’s Valu-Mart or St Paul’s Anglican Church in Minden, or Haliburton Foodland, Todd’s Independent or Algonquin Outfitters in Haliburton.
Donations must be clean without noticeable smell, and lacking rips and tears.
As part of COVID-19 protocols, all donations are expected to be cleaned before donating. Place winter wear in plastic bags before donation if possible.
Anderson said this cause is near to her heart.
“I feel like the work we are doing is meaningful and it’s even more meaningful to me because I grew up here and know some of the people receiving help,” she said. “In a lot of ways I was a person receiving help as well so it feels so good to give back. It kind of feels full circle.”
A few years ago while she was in Grade 12 at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School, she wanted to play hockey for the Highland Storm.
Without means to register and purchase equipment to play, she was given an assist to make her dream a reality, which started with help with an application for money from a charitable organization to initiate the process to receive funds to cover her expenses.
There will be two giveaways on the same day, Saturday, Nov. 14
One is in Minden at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, located at 19 Invergordon Avenue from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the other is at SIRCH (downstairs) in Haliburton, located at 49 Maple Avenue from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Once the two giveaway days are held in Haliburton County, the remaining clothing will go to Bancroft and be given away at the Thrift Warehouse.
For more information about Share the Warmth, call SIRCH at 705-457-1742 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.