With winter just around the corner, staying warm and safe is a necessity. According to the United Way, many community members rely on donated items to help keep them warm, but with this year’s current pandemic, getting these items to individuals presents new challenge.
Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) and their community partners have rallied together to operate the annual Coat Drive in a safe, pandemic appropriate manner this year. While members of the public are unable to drop off and acquire coats at Hotel Dieu Hospital and St. Mary’s Cathedral in the usual way, scheduled drop off and pick up locations will be available over the coming weeks.
“The annual winter Coat Drive is a project close to our hearts and we will be conducting a smaller, internal drive to collect coats from our staff at our Kingston General Hospital (KGH) and Hotel Dieu Hospital (HDH) sites, which we will then distribute through the St. Mary’s Parish Hall program,” said Elizabeth Bardon, KHSC’s vice-president of mission and strategy integration and support services.
“We know that our usual community-wide model of drop-off and distribution of coats isn’t possible this year due to the pandemic,” Bardon said, “but we’re so grateful that the United Way, the City of Kingston, and various local agencies and partners are coming together and willing to step in to help keep community members warm and safe through the winter season.”
Last year’s drive handed out 2,622 items to residents in need, including 848 coats and 1,774 additional winter accessories, such as socks, mitts, hats, gloves, scarves, blanket and boots, according to a release from the United Way, dated Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020. More than 964 people visited the distribution centre, located at St. Mary’s Parish Hall on Brock Street, but the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates a different approach for this year.
“As with the United Way KFL&A United Backpack Campaign this year, the traditional way of getting these items to individuals in need has to be modified. Agencies, staff and volunteers have been quick to step up and support these changes in any way they can – by providing drop-off locations, storage space and volunteers,” said United Way KFL&A President and CEO Bhavana Varma.
“As always, our caring and compassionate community has come together once again to support the most vulnerable of our local population,” Varma said. “Our hope is that community members will continue to give these much-needed items this year by distributing safely through our participating agencies.”
The follow locations are accepting donations of clean, new or gently used adult coats made of washable fabrics from Monday, Oct. 26 through Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. The United Way asks the public to refrain from donating leather, heavy wool and clothing articles other than coats.
- City of Kingston: 216 Ontario St., 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
- Kingston Community Health Centres: #4-26 Weller Ave., 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
- Calvin Park Branch: Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL), 88 Wright Cres.; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
- Pittsburgh Branch: KFPL, 80 Gore Rd.; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
- Isabel Turner Branch: KFPL, 935 Gardiners Rd.; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
- Kingston Community Health Centres: 26 Dundas St. W., 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.
- Morningstar Mission: 59 Water St.; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
Volunteers will sort the donactions and distribute them to community members in need through various agencies, according to the United Way.
The United Way wishes to thank the City of Kingston, Kingston Community Health Centres, Kingston Frontenac Public Libraries, St. Vincent de Paul, Martha’s Table, Morningstar Mission and Lionhearts, Inc., for their continued support.
For more information about this year’s United Way KFL&A and KHSC Coat Drive, please visit https://www.unitedwaykfla.ca/coatdrive.
About United Way of KFL&A
The United Way KFL&A works with individuals, organizations and key partners in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Region to build and strengthen our shared community, bringing people and resources together to facilitate change for the better. Our vision is a future in which people are self-sufficient in a community, where individuals live with hope, dignity and a sense of belonging. Stay up to date by following our social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and of course, look for regular updates on our website at www.unitedwaykfla.ca.