Each year, coats and winter wear donated to United Way’s Coats for Kids & Families program help hundreds of people to be prepared for the cold. This year, United Way is hoping to increase the number of people helped, by upping the number of places to donate.

The 2018 Coats for Kids & Families collection will run from now until Friday, October 19. In addition to the United Way office and the three Lethbridge TD Canada Trust branches, Lethbridge ATB Financial branches will also be hosting drop-off boxes.

Program coordinator Connolly Tate-Mitchell says it’s important to stay ahead of Mother Nature.

“It’s really important that we start this collection early so that we can help people be prepared. Every year, right after the first snowfall, the phone calls and emails from our partner agencies start. They want to know if we have certain sizes for the families they’re serving. ”

“We are always hoping to receive more child and youth sizes,” says Tate-Mitchell. “They’re always in high demand because children outgrow things which need to be replaced each year.”

Items accepted in the collection include new and gently used men’s, women’s, youth and children’s coats, mittens and gloves, scarves, hats and toques and basic hoodies.

“Sometimes there are items donated that are a little too well-loved that we have to say goodbye to,” says Tate-Mitchell. “We’re asking for items that are clean, in good shape, and that have a lot of life left in them. Something as simple as a warm coat, even a used coat, shows that we are a community where people really care for one another.”

Tate-Mitchell also reminds people to check coat pockets before donating.

“As we’re sorting and checking donations, we’ve found spare change, kids’ toys, snacks, grocery lists, and even a set of car keys. I’d like to say I found the owner of the keys, but it just wasn’t possible.”

In previous years, donated items have been connected with new owners with the help of local organizations like Wood’s Homes, the John Howard Society, SASHA Supportive Living, and also through the city’s Project Connect event.

Donations can be brought to the United Way office, Lethbridge TD Canada Trust branches or Lethbridge ATB Financial branches.  United Way is able to provide gift-in-kind tax receipts for new items with proof of purchase.

For more information, please contact United Way at 403-327-1700 or email  together@ lethbridgeunitedway.ca.

United Way of Lethbridge and South Western Alberta is one of over 100 locally operating United Ways across Canada. It is helped many organizations across southern Alberta:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lethbridge & District

Boys & Girls Club of the Crowsnest Pass

Boys and Girls Club of Lethbridge & District

Career Transitions

CariBridge & Kinsmen Club of Lethbridge

Claresholm FCSS – The Station

CNIB

Covenant Health - St. Michael's Health Centre

Crossroads Healing Centre

Crowsnest Pass Women's Resource & Crisis Centre

Foothills SNAPS

Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre

Frontier College

Inclusion Lethbridge

Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge

John Howard Society

Lethbridge Food Bank

Lethbridge YMCA

MS Society

Red Crow Community College

Safe Haven Women's Shelter

Schizophrenia Society of Alberta

Southern Alberta Individualized Planning Association (SAIPA)

Southern Alberta Self-Help Association (SASHA)

St. John Ambulance

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