Through their second Share the Warmth program, BNI Northern Connections delivered much-needed winter wear to Odyssey House on Wednesday. President of BNI Northern Connections and GM of Richmond Dry Cleaners, Don Murray, says roughly $2,000 worth of freshly dry cleaned apparel was donated to the emergency shelter.
He adds, with so many in need right now, having the ability to help even one or two people is a win.
“This year especially, we’re in different times, and there are so many people struggling with losing jobs, not getting as many hours, struggling with family… they’re trying to put food on their table let alone [afford] warm clothing,” he says.
Murray adds the delivery to Odyssey House included coats, pants, and mittens, among other winter articles. He says the goal is to make Share the Warmth an annual tradition.
“If everybody can just band together and be a part of the solution, we can get out of this.”
Makayla Marcotte, Director of Communications for Odyssey House in Grande Prairie, says the donation is a welcome sight which she doesn’t expect the shelter will hold onto for long before it is completely distributed to those in need.
“A donation of any nature during 2020 has been really important but I think this close to Christmas it’s just super special, especially when it comes to items that actually are really needed.”
“They definitely get used and handed out to families as needed. Last year when they donated, our stuff was gone in under two months so I won’t be surprised if this is all handed out and given to families that need it within the month,’ she says.
Currently, Marcotte adds, both the emergency, and second-stage shelters are currently at 100 per cent capacity, and there is a waiting list for people to access services. She says as winter progresses, it’s only becoming more and more important for people in need to be properly equipped for the cold.
“We’ve been lucky to have some not-so-brutal cold days but we’re moving into those minus 20 days up and coming so donations like this are really important.”
“If you are in need of our emergency shelter and we have space we will obviously do an intake for you. If we do have space then we will make arrangements with you in order to support you in a capacity to get you in a safe location,” she says.
For folks looking to donate coats, mittens, pants, and other gently used winter apparel, Odyssey House can be reached at [email protected] or called at 780-296-5403. Both outlets will disclose what the team can accept and in what capacity, in line with AHS health regulations.