Clothing collection a massive success
The ASK Wellness unwanted winter wear drive was so successful that the organization still has bags and bins of jackets, mittens, toques, scarves and shoes to give to anyone in need.
Three bins of shoes and winter accessories are overflowing beneath a stocked coat rack by the centre’s entrance, and at least two more garbage bags full of donated items await in the kitchen for their turn to be displayed and picked up by community members in need. The centre started collecting winter wear in late November and continues to hand out items.
“It was overwhelming,” ASK Merritt Director Bobbi Parkes said of the community’s donations. “The community is listening, responding, and helping those in need.”
She said hundreds of people come through the door to the centre at 2151 Granite Ave., but not all Merrittonians are aware that some of their community members are in need of basic necessities.
“Food is a given,” Parkes said. “We’ll take any food that people have to give, but we deal with a lot of people with chronic health issues. Living on a limited income and being able to eat a nutritious, well-rounded diet is close to impossible. The Boosts or Ensures go out quite fast. That’s a big thing.”
Brambles Bakery and Cafe gives day-old bread to the centre, which freezes and redistributes them to people in need. ASK also collected leftover food from the community Christmas dinner in December and packaged it in individual portions to give to people without enough food.
Parkes said bus tickets, grocery gift cards, toiletries, blankets, towels, and sheets are other items that community members are frequently in need of.
“We’re putting that word out that the need is there and if you have it to give, whether it’s shampoos sitting in your cupboard or if you’re a couponer who gets their big stock, pass it on over here because we’ll get it out to people who need it,” Parkes said.
She said ASK gives items to anyone in need, regardless of their situation.
“We just welcome them in, give them some hope and whatever they need,” she said.