**UPDATE** Donations just kept arriving following the collection wrap-up date, leading to a total of 480 coats collected altogether! United Way appreciates the generosity of the community and thanks all donors for helping to keep the community warm this winter!
Community members donated nearly 450 coats to this year’s Coats for Kids and Families program, and “That’s about a 150 per cent increase in donations since last year,” says United Way’s Connolly Tate-Mitchell.
“It’s amazing! Even after our end-date, they just kept coming,” Tate-Mitchell says. “We’re very proud of the generosity our community has shown with not just our coat collection, but other collections going on in the city.”
With program partners TD Canada Trust branches and KPMG LLP acting as drop-off locations, donating gently used winter items was easier than ever and the final numbers show it.
Nearly 1,000 items were collected altogether and are being distributed at no charge to community members with the help of 10 local organizations which serve children, youth, and families in the Lethbridge region.
Mitch Stevenson, a Senior Accountant at KPMG LLP says that helping make deliveries to several local organizations showed not only the level of need the community experiences, but how small actions can make a difference.
“Delivering to the various organizations across the city was an eye-opening experience and helped us understand how life-changing even the smallest contribution can be for another person,” Stevenson says.
Children and families accessing local shelters like YWCA’s Harbour House sometimes arrive without all of the things they need. Kelly Mettler, partnerships manager at the YWCA of Lethbridge says that winter can be a particularly difficult time of year.
“The cost of coats and boots can really add up as children grow. This type of support allows families we serve to focus on other necessities during pivotal times in their lives,” says Mettler.
Tate-Mitchell says that making the time to deliver items rather than have them picked up is meaningful on a more personal level.
“We get to go and actually see the places where people’s lives are changed for the better and meet people who show us the impact that even a single act of caring can make. It sounds cliché,” Tate-Mitchell says, “but sharing is caring and that’s how we build a better community—by each giving a little bit.”