Each November, the 100 Mile Laundromat collects donations of winter coats, snowsuits, toques, mitts/gloves and scarves as part of Coats for All.
“It started off as Coats for Kids and it’s been running for 20 years. It was one person who was doing it, Donna Nivison, but about six years ago they made it a joint effort between the St. Timothy’s Anglican Church and the 100 Mile United Church. We formed an outreach group, so that’s been taking care of it since then,” said Annie McKave, who has been part of it for the last five years and overseeing it as chairperson.
The drive runs from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30. People are encouraged to bring the items to the 100 Mile Laundromat (located in Owen Square and across from the library).
“I think it’s a really good cause and I think in 100 Mile there’s a real need for this program. We have people who arrive here in the Cariboo late in the fall without winter clothing, you know – families not really prepared for our cold winter – aside from people who live here and just can’t afford to purchase new winter clothing each as year as children grow.”
McKave said the support for the drive has always been “tremendous” since it has started and she doesn’t really think it would change much this year, with mill closures and layoffs. She added that she doesn’t think donations will drop off, but she did say she sees the need increasing.
“Every year, we take in anywhere between 300 to 400 coats, that’s just coats and outer clothing, aside from all the mitts, gloves, scarves and all that. We never have any leftovers. It all goes out.”
Donators are also asked to wash the items before dating them and labelling them as “washed.” If they cannot be washed, they should be labelled as “unwashed.”
The clothing is then given to organizations such as the 100 Mile House and District Food Bank, Canadian Mental Health Office, Canim Lake and Canoe Creek Bands, Family Enrichment Centre, Loaves and Fishes, South Cariboo Health Centre and the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre to help improve the lives of South Cariboo residents as winter comes along.