Warming Hearts on Chilly Days

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I like to win… not in the sense of coming in first, but in the sense of being successful in the projects that I take on. So I was pretty sure that the first ever Coats for Kids and Families Community Distribution Day was going to be a big win for everyone involved, but that didn’t stop me from being nervous.  

I had many things running through my mind as the first Coats for Kids and Families Community Distribution Day drew near. I found myself wondering if we had covered everything… toques and mitts… check, coloring books and crayons… check, coffee and muffins generously donated by Mac’s… check, a handful of awesome individuals who chose to volunteer their Saturday… check. Now the only thing I had to worry about was distributing coats.

The event was supposed to begin at 11:00 am and by 9:15 am,  we had one family knocking on the door, and then another, and another, and all of a sudden it was 10:30 am,  and we had a group waiting to come in for coats.

Now I rarely admit that I am wrong, but there were a few surprises that I had not expected. I was not expecting so many people to be so thankful for the event, or to openly say that they needed help. The smiles and the instant confidence that I could see on the faces of some of the older kids was one very pleasant surprise. They could now walk a little taller when the morning bell rang on Monday because they had found a really “cool” jacket. The look of relief on their parents’ faces, knowing that their child would be warm on the walk to school was another. I did not expect that a mother could find the perfect royal blue coat that she would wear to church the next morning, and, it also happened to be her birthday.

The biggest surprise of the day was the overwhelming feeling of community. It happened to be personified in a 10 year old girl. She had come with her father to find a coat and asked if she could stay to volunteer her time to help us, help her community. She was fantastic, so polite and so helpful.

How does one measure the success of an event like this? I had quietly decided that if we were able to distribute 100 coats in a couple hours I would be ok with that, I would deem that to be a successful event. After speaking with a very wise coworker I was reminded that it really didn’t matter if we distributed one or 200 coats. I had to agree with him because to an individual, without the means to stay warm, that one coat would make a world of difference. That being said, if 1 coat makes a world a difference, then distributing almost 500 coats makes….. well, I’ll let you come up with your own analogy for that one.  Any way you look at it 500 coats distributed is a big win, and we could not have done it without the generosity of the community and the help of our amazing sponsors.

Thank you, everyone, there are 500 more Edmontonians who feel the warmth of your generosity this winter.