A Supportive Community - Working Together to Stay Warm

Happy New Year and welcome to the coldest month of the year. January. I don’t know about you, but I would say that staying warm is crucial to staying safe and healthy during the winter months. We all know what it feels like to be outside without winter clothing. It’s cold out there – downright uncomfortable and dangerous if the temperatures are really cold.

This morning, I stepped out of my car after arriving at work and as I began making the walk to the office, I realized I forgot my mitts in my car. I had a short walk, but my hands were noticeably cold. Our bodies aren’t equipped for the cold. Warmth is a necessity.

Sadly, for our community’s most vulnerable citizens living in poverty, the necessity of staying warm is not always met. Tough choices come with poverty, such as choosing to pay the bill to keep the heat on in their home or walking to work in the cold winter months without winter clothes because they can’t afford clothes or warm transportation. Warm coats and a warm home is sometimes a luxury.

United Way relies on the community in the Alberta Capital Region to help our most vulnerable citizens. Fortunately, we have a supportive community working together to help people stay warm. The Coats for Kids & Families initiative has helped collect and deliver warm winter clothing, generously donated by the community, to families in need for more than 20 years.

This year, the annual coat collection campaign ran from Oct. 1 – Dec. 15, 2015. Since October 15th, more than 4,000 community members have received coats and more will continue to be distributed until the program ends in the Spring. We are so appreciative of those of you who cleaned out your closets and donated gently used winter outerwear or came out to volunteer with the program. That simple act of giving a warm jacket can mean everything to an individual living in poverty.

United Way also encourages groups of co-workers, community organizations, church groups and friends to organize collection drives to collect as many new or gently used coats and outerwear items as possible. This year, Encor by Epcor helped support the initiative with their Bundle Up for Winter promotion. For November and half of December, 521 Encor by Epcor customers decided to pass their $40 credit onto United Way Coats for Kids & Families. $20,840 was donated and with that money we were able to purchase 544 new coats for our most vulnerable community members. Thank you to everyone who helped make this a success this year. Thanks to you, more people will stay warm.

InKind Exchange warehouse where boxes of coats purchased with the money raised from Encor by Epcor clients are being stored for Coats for Kids & Families. These coats will be sorted and delivered to people in need in the Alberta Capital Region.

Samples of coats purchased with the donated funds from Encor by Epcor clients.

Need a winter coat?

If you are in need of a coat or winter clothing, please call 211. If you would like more information about Coats for Kids & Families, visit the website page or contact Jenn Dermott at jdermott@myunitedway.ca.