The early on set of winter has thrown a few people for a loop, including those at Community Partners who run the annual Coats for Kids program.
The annual campaign to provide winter clothing for children, adults and families in Sylvan Lake started on Oct. 1, however the snow in September made them think about starting earlier than usual.
Jen Baliant at Community Partners said more than a few people came looking for some winter items early this year.
“We weren’t expecting snow so early so we weren’t prepared,” Baliant said. “So when people came in looking for snow boots in the middle of September we still had them in storage.”
The program, which runs throughout the winter months out of Community Partners, is now accepting donations of winter clothing for all ages.
Those in need of winter boots, coats or toques can stop by Community Partners to take a look through the selection between now and March.
“We will help anyone who needs it no question asked. Whether it’s a family, a single parent or an individual,” said Baliant.
Baliant says the process to get a coat or other winter item is simple. All one needs to do is come to the office take the item or items needed and show the person at the front desk so it can be recorded what was taken and what size.
Last year Coats for Kids helped 1,179 individual people. The program also gave out 2,400 items to those in need.
“We haven’t seen the need decrease… Each year the response seems to grow.”
The program also stretches outside of Sylvan Lake. Community Partners ended up donating many items to the women’s shelter in Red Deer, as well as Mustard Seed, The Salvation Army and other nearby charities.
“It’s good to know it is such a wide-reaching program and so many people can be helped.”
The items that appear to be the most in need, according to Baliant, are winter boots.
Boots tend to be an expensive item to purchase, and kids very quickly out grow them. Coupled with limited stock in stores, it can be difficult for parents to find what is needed.
“We really only have Wal-Mart here for children’s boots, and so some sizes sell out more quickly than others,” she said.
“… Not every person can afford a $50 pair of boots the kid is just going to outgrow sooner rather than later.”
Along with boots, Baliant says ski pants are also a hot ticket. Last year, Baliant says they didn’t receive as many ski pants as they have in years past.
Most parents coming in for the program tend to be looking for items between a size two and 10.
“The items may not be this season or the in style, but they will keep you warm, that’s all that I really care about.”
Community Partners has been joined by Crystal Clean Laundromat and Seabreeze Cleaners for the month of October.
Items for donation can dropped off at either location throughout October. The items will be cleaned and prepared for its next owners.
“We are so grateful to have their help and support once again for this project,” said Baliant.
“We have had great response from the community in the years past, and expect another great year.”