The Warm Up for Winter clothing drive received an “unbelievable” response to the community according to the South Okanagan Real Estate Board (SOREB).
Formerly known as the Cover with Kindness program run by the Soupateria Society for Penticton residents, Warm up For Winter expanded to include surrounding communities and began collecting winter clothing and blankets on Oct. 24 for distribution to those in need on Nov. 27 and 28 out of the St. Saviour’s Church on Orchard Avenue in Penticton.
“(It’s been) unbelievable – it’s been like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” said Lyndi Cruickschank, a member of the SOREB. “We’ve had an incredible response from the community. And not only have been able to help people yesterday and today (Nov. 28), we’ve been able to reach out to other community members and have items go back to them as well.”
Cruickschank said the clothing drive has seen an increase in the number of people accessing the program compared to last year. She said the SOREB is happy to keep this program running and see it expand to match the increasing need.
“For us it’s being able to work with the people we work with day-to-day in the community and collectively give back to people that need what we have here today and yesterday,” said Cruickschank. “So it’s blankets, clothes, boots — the essentials to keep them warm.”
Those that stopped by the church during the drive were provided snacks and refreshments and were able to take what they needed, free of charge. Any items left over from the drive will be distributed to other community organizations, both within and outside of the city.
“Anything that’s remaining at the end of the day is being distributed out to other resource centres within the community. So, for example, we have some items going to Princeton and Keremeos and other community resources that will receive the balance of the donations,” said Cruickschank. “So absolutely everything that has been donated is going out into the community and will be looking after someone this winter.”
Cruickschank credits the community’s generosity for the drive’s success this year. Those still interested in donating winter apparel or blankets can direct their items to the Anglican Church Restore, which is open every second and fourth Friday each month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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