Employing the Elmira Sugar Kings once again this year, the Teens for Jeans campaign is coming to the Woolwich Memorial Centre tomorrow (Sunday) to collect blue jeans.The fifth year for the Aeropostale clothing company campaign for teens in need, this will be the third year the Kings have helped out along with fellow Junior B teams the Waterloo Siskins and Kitchener Dutchmen.
While the teams’ involvement is all in good fun, for a good cause, a certain amount of competitiveness is a plus for organizer Nancy Zajac of Elmira, manager at Conestoga Mall’s Aeropostale store. She brought the campaign to the town and Woolwich Community Services (WCS).
“Last year we didn’t hit our goal but it was difficult for everybody, we found. We hit just under 800 pairs so that’s pretty phenomenal. Our goal this year is 1,000 again. I’d say 60 per cent of the jeans we got in were because of these hockey games: they really make a difference.”
The three teams have had a longstanding friendly competition on who will collect more jeans for the campaign at their respective games, Zajac said.
Locally, jeans will be collected during the Sugar Kings game, which takes place at 7 p.m. on Sunday and again on January 26 and February 2. Collection bins will also be available at the Kitchener Dutchmen home games January 26 and 28 and the Siskins’ home games January 19 and February 8.
The campaign will donate jeans to Woolwich Community Services, Ray of Hope, House of Friendship and others, with Zajac gradually giving the pairs away as the need arises at each organization.
WCS has been a priority for the campaign since Zajac started organizing it locally. The success of the Kings’ involvement is another hats-off to the community spirit in Woolwich, she said.
“We do our in-store campaign and that goes so far. I had this brainstorm three years ago – this will be our third year with the hockey teams. It’s something that brings our community together and, living in Elmira, I know how important the Sugar Kings are to everybody. I think it might have been when we were competing for Hockeyville Canada, that’s maybe what inspired me. There was such an outpouring of support from the hockey community.”
The winter sport also helps the community keep stay mindful of the principle of the campaign: to keep folks warm in the brisk weather this season.
“When we are trying to clothe people to keep them warm it just makes sense. Hockey is a winter sport, it helps people think of the cold.”
The Teens for Jeans Campaign has partnered with Aéropostale and DoSomething.org for several years and collected more than 2.5 million pairs to donate to homeless teens, according to the Do Something Canada website. In 2011 some 12,000 schools across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico participated to collect a record-breaking 1,000,000 jeans in four weeks.
Donations can also be made at various schools and the Aeropostale store in Conestoga Mall in Waterloo.