The Victoria Cool Aid Society’s annual coat drive has ended, but the need is still great for items enhancing the warmth of people sleeping outdoors right now.
The service provider is accepting unused tents, sleeping bags and tarps at its Rock Bay Landing shelter on Ellice Street. Items will be passed along by staff there to unhoused individuals. Donors are asked to call 250-383-1951 to arrange a dropoff time.
The Landing has also opened up 15 new nighttime shelter mat spaces to bring people indoors during the current cold snap. The spaces are first-come, first-served, but can be booked ahead by calling the number above.
Public sensitivities and health orders around COVID-19 had an effect on this year’s coat drive, which ended Jan. 15, said Lori Angelini, Cool Aid’s director of philanthropy and community engagement.
Not only did people’s discomfort around dropping items off reduce the volume of donations, she said, the need for quarantined storage and more stringent handling of donations required more receiving capacity.
One local merchant took the news of the donation shortfall to heart.
Gordy Dodd, owner of Dodd’s Furniture, recently donated 30 warm blankets to kick off an extension of the clothing drive. The store at 715 Finlayson St. is accepting donations of warm outerwear – coats and jackets, toques, gloves, scarves – until Feb. 28, with all items collected passed along to Cool Aid.