Free winter gear for the needy

Wendy Dumas has found a way to warm people up this winter.

The stay-at-home-mom is well aware of how quickly children outgrow their gear so she accepts donations of warm coats, mitts, snow pants, boots and other cosy things to help others get through the winter.

Her project, Warm Coats for Winter, started in 2012.

“I saw a need for it,” she said. “Kids outgrow stuff in a matter of months sometimes. Or they lose one mitt and the stores are closed or people are waiting for payday. Some people just can’t afford to buy new stuff every time their kids grow or lose a mitt.”

Her project supplies winter gear for anybody who needs it. Two days a week, she spreads out all of the donations, classified into groups of coats, mitts, hats, pants, sweaters and boots, and takes a tally of the items that get taken home. On Thursday of last week, 40 items went to people that needed them.

Dumas takes donations that are dropped off either at the Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre, where her project is run, or else at different spots in town. She said she has been thankful for all the donations this year.

“Today I stepped out for a minute, and came back to find three bags full of mitts,” said Dumas. “Thank God because people need mitts. I’m so thankful that people are coming together to get these here. I was really worried last week, I thought I might not have enough. But then five bags showed up.”

One thing she has seen a need for is snow pants.

Dumas is also looking for volunteers to help out. In a typical day at the project, she is picking up donations, washing them, repairing any minor holes or rips, and sorting. Most days, she has people calling her to ask if she has specific items so meeting those requests takes time, as well.

Warm Coats for Kids is open at the Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. It is open to everybody.

Dumas is hoping that more people will donate their unused winter gear.

“It’s not a charity thing,” she said. “It’s a community thing.”

Wendy Dumas sorts through hats donated for her project, Warm Coats for Winter November 2015 Hay River

Wendy Dumas sorts through hats donated for her project, Warm Coats for Winter
November 2015
Hay River