This winter is different for those in need - United Way Alberta Capital Region

This winter is different for those in need

November 12, 2021


United Way of the Alberta Capital Region has run the Coats for Kids & Families initiative since 1992. But this year is different, with many in our community continuing to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, United Way is seeing an increased need from local agencies for warm winter coats, boots, and accessories for families in need in the Edmonton region.

“Many people lost their job because of COVID, and they can’t afford winter clothing,” shared Cherif Diallo of the FRAP Society (Francophonie Albertaine Plurielle).

Sadly, his many clients are in greater need due to the pandemic. Cherif shares how many people come to Canada in search of a better life, but it is often harder than they anticipated. They can need a helping hand to be successful. Yet there aren’t enough resources to go around.

This year FRAP has supported 75 families immigrating from poverty-stricken African countries to our community. “These families are very high needs,” says Diallo. “The winter clothing that we have to offer right now is not enough for everyone.”

Canadians Being Kind
Many local families don’t have the means to purchase the clothing needed for Alberta’s harsh winters. For almost 30 years, United Way’s Coats for Kids & Families program has been there. to keep our community warm. The FRAP Society is just one of 32 partner Donation Depots that help us distribute donated winter items.

Last year Coats for Kids and Families provided 5,020 donated coats to people living in low-income throughout our region.

That level of impact would not be possible without many people coming together to do local good every winter – people like Pranav Jha, a student at the University of Alberta.

“Being locked up during the pandemic gave me time to reflect on what kind of life I wanted to manifest for myself. I realized that I wanted to make service an integral component of my daily life. Fortunately, I had a lot of like-minded friends who were keen to join me in the project,” reflected Pranav.

Pranav poses with the winter items that he collected at United Way’s InKind Exchange.

Pranav poses with the winter items that he collected at United Way’s InKind Exchange.

As a result of this reflection, he collected over 120 warm winter items for families in need. Pranav is just one of the hundreds of contributors who make this program possible every year.

And those contributions are making a big difference.

“When families receive winter clothing, it builds more trust and is very symbolic for them,” said Cherif. “They say that people in Canada are very kind and helpful.”

This spirit of helping each other is demonstrated by no one more than our long-term partner, Page The Cleaner. Page was established in Edmonton in 1935, and this family-run business has supported Coats for Kids and Families since its inception. Over the years, Page has cleaned over one hundred thousand coats that deserving local kids and families have received through participating United Way community service agencies.

For a full list of partner drop-off locations and to learn more, visit

If you need winter wear, call or text 211 to find a Donation Depot near you.