If the thermometer wasn’t clear, stepping outside these days is an indication you’ll need to start bundling up, donning your thickest winter gear. For some people, that’s not as easy as reaching into a closet or storage bin, however.
With that in mind, the Woolwich Community Lions Club is joining the cause with their first “Toasty Toes” clothing drive this month. Throughout the month of November, the Lions will be collecting donations of warm clothing from the public, and then donating them in bulk to the oneRoof youth services and homelessness organization in Kitchener.
“You know all about the Lions, right?” said club member Freda Walker. “We give back, we serve. And for the month of November the Woolwich Lions’ service project is Toasty Toes.”
It’s a project that has been run by numerous organizations throughout the country, with the local Lions taking on the challenge this year.
“We are collecting socks, warm new and gently used socks, but we will take mitts and hats. Anything to keep them warm. And we are donating them to oneRoof,” explained Walker.
The donations will go towards oneRoof, a Kitchener-based organization with a focus on supporting homeless and at-risk youth in the Waterloo Region, typically between the ages of 12 and 25.
“For us, it’s fantastic. Our agency relies quite heavily on community donations,” said Sandy Dietrich-Bell, CEO for oneRoof in Kitchener. “We don’t receive federal or provincial funding, so when a group steps up and donates to us – whether it be hats and mitts, or socks, or hygiene products, anything like that – it certainly helps our bottom line and enables us to continue to serve the youth that we support.”
The organization offers clothing at its drop-in location, as well as meals, showers, laundry facilities and hygiene products to those in need. More advanced services, like health care and mental health services are also offered at select times.
“So we’re always looking for clothing that’s suitable to that age range (12-25), and certainly with the winter months approaching, hats and mitts and socks go a long way in helping to keep folks warm,” Dietrich-Bell added.
“Our club has taken on this for November as our service project. One of the most needed items, but least donated, for the homeless are socks,” said Walker. “If your feet are warm, then the rest of you stays warm. Put some socks and a hat on, and you’re a little bit warmer. Keep the body heat in.”
This will be the first Toasty Toes campaign the Woolwich Lions have run, notes Walker.
“We’re always looking for new service projects, something you haven’t done over and over again. And we had seen another Lions Club was collecting socks, so I had to check that: ‘Oh what are you doing with the socks? Oh that sounds like a great idea for our own area!’ And here we go, getting socks. And mitts and hats.”
Donations can be made at Lions Hall in Elmira, 40 South St. W., on November 26 between 6 and 8:30 p.m. The public can also drop of donations at the Window Box flower store in downtown Elmira (8 Arthur St. S.) during regular business hours. The final day to donate is November 26.
Drop-in service at oneRoof can be accessed Monday through Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 242 Queen St. S. The centre can also reached at 519-742-2788.