16th Annual SPCA Coat Drive

The SPCA Thrift Mart, a well known and active business member of our community, is once again putting together a Coat Drive to help gets coats to some of the Lower Mainland’s most needy. I posted about the SPCA coat drive experience I had a few years ago, and wanted to remind you all of this annual event. This is the 16th annual coat drive, and organizer Roni-Lyn Saunders says the need is greater than ever. Roni and her dad have been working hard to put together this year’s coat drive but they desperately need donations of good warm coats and blankets, and they could use some hands to help disperse the coats at Main and Hastings in the evening of December 10th, as well as organize them onto hangers and racks during the day that same day.  Click on the picture for a full size poster – feel free to hang it up in your apartment lobby or at your workplace.

Thanks to the NewsLeader for letting us use this poster and image.

The Coat Drive is December 10th and donated coats and blankets will be accepted at both the 12th Street location of the SPCA Thrift Mart, and the Coquitlam location up until December 9th, and at the 12th Street location until 2PM on December 10th. Please specify that the coat or blanket donation is for the drive so that it gets filtered to the right place.

If you are able to volunteer to hand out coats on December 10th, please contact Roni at 604-540-7722. The handing out starts at 7PM at Main and Hastings and helpers are also needed to organize the coats during the day.

And finally, if you or someone you know is in need of a coat, please don’t hesitate to visit us at Main and Hastings for a warm jacket. Soup and hot chocolate as well as a little Christmas singing will be available.  Everyone deserves warmth, inside and out.

SPCA Thrift Shop Coat Drive

Jackets by cafemama via flickr
Jackets by cafemama via flickr

A few years ago, I was invited to help out at the SPCA Thrift Shop’s Annual Coat Drive. I bundled up in my warmest clothes, and met the familiar faces of Roni and Colleen from the thrift shop, along with a few other helpers, on a freezing night in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. I helped to hand out 600 plus jackets to some of the neediest people, sang along with some of the cheesiest Christmas carols, and said “Merry Christmas” to more strangers than I could count. 

It was one of the most eye opening and  rewarding things I’ve ever done and so the following year I signed up again, and brought a friend. Both years, it was a weird night – filled with apprehension, and a little bit of fear, and completely overshadowed by small victories I will carry near to my heart. I did some things out of my comfort zone. I helped a transgendered prostitute find the warmest and most stylish coat. I was humbled more than once when various homeless people showed pride in a free coat and didn’t want to take more than “their fair share”. I watched one stranger hand another stranger a pair of gloves because “he needed them more” when they so obviously both needed them. My heart was filled with a rekindled faith in people those two nights.

This year I want to sign up again. I need to feel that same stirring of human kindness, and so I popped by the SPCA Thrift Shop again to talk to the women who run the shop. This year’s drive takes place, as always, December 10th. The shop needs help to make this coat drive happen – in the form of donated jackets, help organizing the jackets onto hangers and racks in the week preceding the night of December 10th, and help handing out the jackets to the residents of the Downtown Eastside.

If you’re interested in helping, whether it’s down at Main and Hastings on December 10th, or perhaps collecting up warm, gently used jackets around your office or neighbourhood and dropping them off at the SPCA Thrift Shop at 615 12th Street, give Colleen or Roni a call at 604-540-7722 to make arrangements and for more information.