The organizers behind a Vancouver Christmas coat drive are appealing for help. They need at least 200 gently used winter coats, but as of Sunday, they only have about 50.
“This year the economy is tough on some people and it’s starting at the top and hitting the bottom hard. Most people usually have two or three or four coats in their closet that they’re not wearing and this year, everybody’s making do with what they have,” said Roni-Lyn Sanders.
For more than two decades, she and her father have handed out coats to those living on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
This year, they’re having trouble collecting enough donations, even though they’ve been canvassing for coats since the end of October. Sanders said she’s been reaching out on social media, to no avail.
“People are trying. I’ve got it on Facebook and I’ve got it on Instagram and I’m trying to do as much social media as I can by myself, but I’m only one person. I’m feeling that I’m branching out more, trying to get more people to go through their closets,” said Sanders.
“Everybody’s just on cut-back mode. So, it’s just hard.”
However, time is running out.
On December 10, all the coats will be trucked to the downtown eastside, and set up on shopping racks. The goal is to match the right coat with the right person. Sanders, her father and her small team of volunteers also given a hot meal before they go.
But with just days left until that December 10th deadline, Sanders worries they won’t make it.
“Pretty worried. Really worried actually. I’ve gone to bed a couple nights not feeling so great. It would be nice if everybody could just do a little and hopefully in the end it will all turn out,” she said.
If you’d like to make a donation, you can bring your new or gently used winter coat to the following locations:
North Vancouver BCSPCA Thrift Store, 1523 Pemberton Avenue (Deadline: Wed., Dec. 9, 11 a.m.)Richmond BCSPCA Thrift Store, 5400 Minoru Boulevard (Deadline: Wed., Dec. 9, 11 a.m.)Jolly Coachmen Pub, 19167 Ford Road, Pitt MeadowsSundowner Pub, 11970 64 Avenue, Delta419 Lakeview Street, Coquitlam (Deadline Thursday, Dec. 10, 9 a.m.)New Westminster BCSPCA Thriftmart, 615 12th Street
Coats are only accepted during normal business hours, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., seven days a week. Donors are asked to place the donated coats in a garbage bag so they won’t get wet and write the words “21st annual coat drive” on the bag.