Spreading warmth - Successful coat drive for United Way

LETHBRIDGE-United Way’s Coats for Kids & Families collection has wrapped up for another year, and with 245 coats and 223 other winter accessories donated, the organizers say it was a success.

“The goal this year was to increase the number of coats collected,” said program coordinator Connolly Tate-Mitchell. “Although there were fewer hats, mitts and scarves donated, we had an increase of more than 40 coats over last year, so we’re really pleased.”

Donation drop-off locations included local ATB Financial branches and TD Canada Trust branches during the month of October. In addition, two other notable companies jumped on board with the collection.

Lethbridge’s FloorRight Interiors offered a chance to win one of two gift cards to Italian Table for those who brought in donations of gently used coats or winter wear to the business. A total of 71 coats and hoodies were collected at that location alone.

Coaldale’s McCain Foods showed their local love by purchasing a number of children’s coats to support the drive.

“They started with a small, internal collection,“ said Tate-Mitchell. “When they dropped them off at our office, they asked what else we needed, and what sizes we could use most. Historically, the requests for children and youth sizes are what we struggle to fill, so that’s what we told them.”

Mid-November, the McCain team returned with approximately 50 new children’s coats that had been purchased by the company to donate. Tate-Mitchell said these items made all the difference.

“We had heard from some organizations that needs were high and items available were few, so an additional 40 coats really helped us to get more people ready for winter. We’re really thankful for the local love from across our community this year.”

Coats and accessories were distributed to individuals and families in the area with the help of local organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters, the John Howard Society, Project Connect, SASHA Supportive Living, Streets Alive, Wood’s Homes, White Eagle Wellness, and the YWCA.

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