With winter just around the corner, and snow already covering the Nicola Valley, a number of local organizations gathered to distribute donated winter clothing to at-risk and in need individuals in the community. Clothing, gathered through the canvassing of donations in the community, was distributed at Spirit Square on Monday, November 7. Soup and hot drinks were also available. 

The clothing drive and subsequent distribution effort were spearheaded by a number of local organizations. Scw’exmx Community Health Services, Scw’exmx Child & Family Services, Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly, Nlaka’pamux Health Services, Conayt Friendship Society, the Merritt Community Policing Office, and Ask Wellness partnered up to bring warm clothing and homemade food to those who need it. Organizers said it was great to see support from the community, but hard to see the number of people accessing the service.

“These kinds of events are a little bittersweet, to see how much people are in need of these kinds of things and support,” said Scw’exmx Community Health Services in a statement to the Herald.

“They were definitely thankful for what we could provide. We did coats, warmer clothes, boots, touques, gloves, mittens, and hand warmers.”

After a week-long period of gathering donations, an event was held in Spirit Square on November 7 to distribute donated clothing. The Community Policing Office allowed use of their boardroom for the serving of homemade soup and hot drinks. While a number of people accessed the free clothing, organizers realized that more support was needed.

“We found that we are still in need of boots in adult sizes. Quite a few things that were donated was children’s stuff, which is great and definitely needed as well, but more people at risk definitely need adult size boots, blankets, and sleeping bags,” added the statement. 

Those who wish to donate their gently used winter clothing, including gloves, toques, jackets, and boots, should drop them off at Ask Wellness on Quilchena Avenue. Donations, clothing and monetary, can also be brought to the shelter on Voght Street. 

For more information on the clothing drive, contact Ask Wellness at 250-315-0098.