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Wapiti House and Saint Lawrence Centre in need of gloves, winter wear: Gossen

With the colder weather in full effect, Wapiti House and the Saint Lawrence Centre are asking for the public’s assistance to provide their residents with winter wear and other accessories.

Jared Gossen, Project Lead for Wapiti House and the Saint Lawrence Centre says that any donations are appreciated.

“Some of the easiest donations for people to acquire and drop off are hand warmers. We distribute a ton of those every day and we can always use more. Gloves of all shapes and sizes are crucial, if possible, a little heavier pair with knit material. Gloves go very quickly as well. Sometimes we can hand out three pairs to a person, three days in a row, because they get lost and stolen. It’s important for our residents to have access to them,” he says.

Gossen says that the shelters are pretty busy most nights with lots of people going in and out. Residents have access to plenty of scarves and toques but they are in need of winter wear.

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“Any type of jacket donations would be appreciated. Preferably of the warmer variety to help them brave the elements,” Gossen explains. “Those are needed at both Wapiti House and the Saint Lawrence Centre,” he explains. We will distribute them as soon as they get dropped off, within an hour, at either facility to those that need them.”

The pandemic has forced many people into homelessness for various reasons. Gossen says that the local shelters have felt that too.

“Unfortunately we’re seeing numbers climb as most cities in Alberta, Grande Prairie included, are dealing with increased homelessness. Something we have seen over the last couple of months is individuals who are becoming homeless due to the economic impact of the pandemic.”

The shelters have some amazing outreach programs that look to divert people as soon as they are ready to leave, but most of their programs are slightly overcapacity. Despite all of that, Gossen and the rest of the staff remain appreciative of the love and kindness the community brings on a consistent basis.

“I’m just really grateful for the support the community shows the shelters year after year. Especially during the holiday season, I’m so glad to see the empathy that folks show towards us,” he says.

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