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Clothing drive eyes approaching winter weather

With the beautiful Thanksgiving weather behind us, it’s time to take a reluctant look forward to the inevitable cold and snow that winter will bring.

For many families that means new snow pants, jackets and boots for their children, but that is often an expensive proposition, and one that many families cannot afford.

That is why the St. Jacobs Family Support Centre has organized their first winter clothing drive next week, Oct. 17 to the 21.

“Usually we just go into thrift stores or we have rural outreach workers and they sometimes have connections through their church and we get some stuff sporadically, but quite often it’s a struggle to get enough,” said Brenda Gingerich, a family support worker with the SJFSC.

The centre exclusively supports the Low-German speaking Mennonites who have moved to the area from Latin America, and they help with everything from setting up a telephone and obtaining an OHIP card, to translation and education services.

Most of the families are of low-income, and it can be difficult for them to afford appropriate clothing. In a given month the SJFSC works with anywhere from 35 to 50 families, or upwards of 200 people, and Gingerich said that for these families, the adjustment to Canadian winters is a shock.

“Those who have been here for a while they pick up pretty quickly just how cold it is, [and] in the schools the kids soon learn that they have to go outside and if they’re not dressed properly there will be consequences,” said Gingerich.

“Pretty quickly they catch on.”

Anyone interested in donating gently used clothing can drop them off at Woolwich Community Services in Elmira at 73 Arthur St. Monday-Friday from 9-5, or at the WCS Youth Centre at the Woolwich Memorial Centre Tuesday-Friday from 6-10 p.m.

Although minor holes can often be patched by the Mennonites, they ask that the clothes be in good condition.

For more information call Gingerich the SJFSC (519) 664-2370.

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