Coats for Kids & Families spreads warmth and compassion across the Edmonton region - United Way Alberta Capital Region

Coats for Kids & Families spreads warmth and compassion across the Edmonton region

October 6, 2023


Your support of United Way’s Coats for Kids & Families will keep our community warm, one coat at a time.

As the chill of autumn sets in, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region embarks on its annual Coats for Kids & Families campaign, a heartwarming initiative that has been keeping our community warm for over 30 years. The campaign officially launched on October 1, and this year’s mission is more ambitious than ever: to collect and distribute 9,000 winter items to individuals and families in need throughout the Edmonton region.

Coats for Kids & Families aims to ensure that families and individuals have access to the proper outerwear they need to withstand the region’s cold winters, especially those facing houselessness in our community.

At its core, Coats for Kids & Families is so much more than a coat drive; it’s about compassionately addressing the needs of those experiencing financial challenges. By offering warm winter wear to low-income individuals and families in our region, the program allows children to fully engage in outdoor activities, empowers adults to work and thrive in our winter city, and ensures newcomers are prepared for our cold environment.

Coats for Kids & Families stands ready to envelop our community with warmth, unity, and compassion this season.

Photo: Adobe Stock

A lifeline for Edmonton’s seniors

Coats for Kids & Families supports many local agencies in the Edmonton region. Last year, 6,700 winter items were distributed to 28 community partners, one of which was Operation Friendship Seniors Society (OFSS).

OFSS is a non-profit society that provides community-based preventative social services to the seniors of Edmonton’s inner city. Many of their clients are seniors who experience inadequate housing conditions, poor health, food insecurity, decreased mobility, mental health challenges, and social isolation.

Coats for Kids & Families provides much-needed winter wear to OFSS for distribution among their senior clients, helping them stay warm during the cold winter months.

“Operation Friendship Seniors Society is so thankful for United Way and the support of their Coats for Kids & Families program. We are able to give the coats that are donated to the seniors that need them the most,” shares Jimmy Morrison, Community Relations Manager at Operation Friendship Seniors Society.

“The cold winter months in the inner city are hard with the brutal temperatures. A warm jacket goes a long way to keeping our seniors warm and shows them someone cares. The gift of warmth and love is such an amazing gift someone can give over the winter months.”

Community support in action

Coats for Kids & Families thrives on community support, including donations, volunteering, collection drives, and drop-off locations.

This year, Co-operators has generously provided United Way with seed funding to launch the Coats for Kids & Families program season. They will be accepting new or gently used winterwear items at all Co-operators locations in the Edmonton region as of October.

“At Co-operators we are entrenched in the desire to build better and more resilient communities. We find purpose in giving back and understand that this starts with compassion and is rooted in a deep desire to help,” says Nicole Dziuba, Senior Manager for Co-operators.

“The Coats for Kids & Families program aligns with our desire to improve the lives of individuals and families experiencing houselessness. We started this last year when we found out how underfunded this program is and the increasing need for this basic necessity. Our offices are ready and standing by to help collect coats to be distributed to those in need.”

Get involved and make a difference

You can give the gift of warmth to someone in need by supporting United Way’s Coats for Kids & Families program, which runs from October 2023 to February 2024.  Whether through donating or volunteering, you can make a significant impact on the lives of those experiencing financial challenges.

Your act of kindness ripples through our community, ensuring that warmth, comfort, and hope reach those who need it most.

This season there is a crucial need for men’s coats – a highly demanded yet often under donated item. Your monetary donations can help us bridge this gap. By contributing financially, you enable United Way to purchase much-needed winter items, such as men’s winter coats, allowing the program to provide essential warmth where it is needed most.

Winter outerwear donations for men, women, children, and infants, including winter jackets, snow pants, toques, mitts, scarves, winter boots, and insulated workwear will also be accepted. All donated items must be clean and in good condition and can be dropped off at any of the current drop-off locations.

Another way to get involved is by volunteering to help sort coats and outerwear at United Way’s InKind Exchange. Volunteer sessions must be booked in advance by emailing [email protected]

Embrace Compassion

As we celebrate the launch of United Way’s Coats for Kids & Families program, let compassion guide our actions. When you support this initiative, you’re making sure families don’t have to choose between staying warm and putting food on the table.

Together, we can ensure no one in our community is left behind to face winter without the essential warmth they deserve.

Help keep our community warm