For every individual requesting a coat there is a story. Coats get lost, stolen, worn out, outgrown and then winter arrives and a replacement is needed. That is where West 49 and The Salvation Army in Guelph team up to provide those coats. Every winter, the Staff and Customers at West 49 generously provide the coats and The Salvation Army makes them available to any one who has a need.
Just imagine how you warm the heart and body of Maria against the cold blasts of winter with those beautiful coats. Maria and her four sons were new arrivals from Africa. They arrived in Guelph as refugees in late October. How grateful she was that coats were available to provide the warmth as they prepared to face their first winter.
West 49 Bayshore has partnered with The Snowsuit Fund in Ottawa for several years now. The impressive quantity of gently used items has made a positive impact on our operation and the people we serve. We are grateful for your continued support.
From a client: “My son was so happy because the snowsuit came at the right time being his first winter in Canada. God bless your organization, God bless all the donors and God bless Canada.”
From a donor: “[When I visited your Depot] I saw first-hand the cheerful help given to a variety of people. Each was outfitted by patient helpers and students who worked hard to accommodate those in need. With accolades to you and your family of donors for the impressive work you all do!”
One story that always comes to mind is a mom with her son who was about 6 or 7 years old. The sons school let them know about our services and they registered and started looking for clothes for the little guy. After a few minutes the little guy put on a warm winter coat...."Awww Mom, this so cool! This jacket is so warm and it is totally cool!" he paused and looked her in the eye......"Do you have enough money Mom? Oh boy!!!! The mom was speechless and everyone around could hear a pin drop! She said "That's ok , you can have it, this place is where everyone shares with each other". This little guy walked out so proud with his new coat on his back. As he left, he said 'Hey mom, I wanna clean my room and find clothes for kids smaller than me!" I wish I had this on video, it was one of the most powerful moments in my career.
I love the West 49 staff, they really get the spirit of helping the community.
Often schools, Children's Aid, Halton Multicultural Council, or Halton Womens' place will email us requesting a coat for a youth or child. With help from West 49, there has always been a coat for these requests.
I am humbled by the kindness from the community and support from West 49 to be a leader in organizing this great yearly event.
I just wanted to write and say how much the Coats for Kids campaign and the support from West 49 means to us and our young people. Each day youth come to us in need of clothing and especially coats as it is the “wet coast”. We have a free clothing room that the youth from all our programs have access to and they access it a lot. Without support from programs like yours we just couldn’t keep our clothing room full. The coats that you guys donate to us are terrific because they are so age appropriate and cool. Youth love to come and “shop” for clothes and we even have a change room, thanks for helping keep our “store” fully stocked.
A thank you from a youth:
“You supported and provided for me when I needed it most, I will never forget that and will be entirely grateful for the rest of my life.” From a female youth
A big thank you to all of you at West 49 and all the wonderful people that donate to Coats for Kids.
I can say that our regular clients are so relieved when The Salvation Army helps meet this need. It often means they will have a much warmer and better quality coat than they could have purchased on their own. One mother appreciated having play snowsuits, even though they were not in great shape, they would be fine for her children to wear when they got home from school to save wear and tear on their school snowsuits, or if their school snowsuits had gotten wet through that day. Coats are a big expense and with the cost of food up 15-20% the assistance with winter coats is even more needed. We also have many donations of new, handmade mittens, hats, and scarves, brought to our office, which we can often match these up with the coats.
What a difference we see on the faces of our clients! They often come with fretful or discouraged expressions and leave looking encouraged and thankful. At this time of year, parents have just come through the expense of buying, or not being able to buy, school supplies and the prospects of Christmas and winter power or fuel comes right on the heels of needing wither clothing. It can be very overwhelming. This campaign is such an easy and inexpensive way for people to extend a helping hand to others.
We appreciate that West49 encourages the donations to be clean and in good condition, especially so the recipients don’t feel so much like their getting cast offs. We are thrilled to have West49’s cooperation, and in particular, Zac, the store manager at Regent Mall in Fredericton, who says that this is his most favourite project.