Written by Carla, staff member, Dartmouth North & Alderney Gate Public Library
As the cold weather looms ever closer, the need for winter clothing is on top of many people’s minds. Unfortunately, not all people are able to afford to purchase the items that they (or their families) need. The current housing crisis, rising food prices, and job insecurity due to the ongoing pandemic have had major impacts on people’s budgets and mental health. In 2020, the Dartmouth North Public Library coordinated its first winter coat giveaway in partnership with a number of community organizations. Individuals and families could register for a free winter coat, hat, and/or mittens just by calling the Library. Initially, the program exclusively recycled used winter clothing donated by the public. In the first year, the team was able to help about 100 families.
The program has since evolved, and now only accepts new items. The reason is simple: people deserve to be looking their best, with all new items. The program also has adopted a “giving tree/community cares wall” approach, wherein people can take a tag off a wall and commit to purchasing the items listed on that tag. You can pick up your Giving Tree tag at multiple locations, including: Christ Church, Sonlife Church, St. Anthonys, Life Branch Church, and the Dartmouth Masjid.
Along with Dartmouth North and Alderney Gate Public Libraries, the current planning team includes residents and representatives from Christ Church, SonLife Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parishes, Life Branch Church, Dartmouth Masjid, Inspiring Communities, Schools Plus, MLA Susan Leblanc, and the Public Good Society of Dartmouth. It’s absolutely amazing that so many community-based organizations have come together to participate on this event, and it really demonstrates the witnessed communal need.
This year, we will be collecting new winter clothing and donations along with distributing it to community members throughout the month of November. There are currently over 200 people registered who are hoping to receive new coats—with a very high percentage of youth in need. Registration for the winter coats is currently full, however, we may re-evaluate depending on the volume of donations from the public.
Any new winter clothing or financial donation helps. You can call or visit Dartmouth North Public Library and Alderney Gate Public Library to learn more.