By Melissa Heald
Oct. 29, 2014
Tammy Jones was in the Confederation Court Mall when she walked by a room empty except for a big box that said Coats for Kids.
Curious, she went in and looked around, but she couldn’t figure out what it was associated with. It was a friend who told her the program was through the Salvation Army.
That was three years ago.
Ever since, the single mom of three – Draven, 6, Josiah, 4, and Serenity Hope, 2 – has used the program to provide her children with new winter coats.
Coats for Kids, organized by Downtown Charlottetown Inc., allows people to donate used children’s coats, boots, mittens and snow suits. The mall provides the drop off depot, Sterns Laundry cleans the coats and the Salvation Army distributes the coats to the families.
The Coats for Kids campaign is looking for gently used coats from infant through teen sizes. The campaign runs until Friday Nov. 7.
The program is a godsend because, with two growing boys, clothing is a big expense, said Jones.
“It’s a sweat off my brow because I don’t have to worry about coats and boots.”
Beth Cruwys is a community and family service worker with the Salvation Army.
“Kids in Canada shouldn’t have to be freezing out there without a coat or boots on,” she said.
Paying rent, making sure they have heating fuel this time of the year and just the many costs that come with having a family are some of the expenses parents are dealing with, she said.
“If we can alleviate some of that pressure and stress on parents, that’s great.”
The need is so great, they often worry about running out, said Cruwys.
“A lot of families just want to take advantage of the program.”
Children also have a chance to feel good by getting something new, said Cruwys.
Jones said it was exciting for her sons to come home from school to a new coat, snow pants and boots this year, said Jones.
“One was like ‘this is so cool.’”
Her daughter, who loves purple, got to pick out her own coat, said Jones, adding the smile afterwards was awesome.
She wants to thank the public for all the donations, said Jones.
“If it wasn’t for them, it wouldn’t run.”