“This is Alberta, and I have seen storms come in March and stay until April. So we don’t usually fold it up until mid-March,” Trehearne says. “We’re going to watch the weather forecasts in the next week and see how they are.”
Under the program, which began in Olds about six years ago, people are urged to drop off gently used winter coats. This year, gloves, tuques and hats are also available at the food bank.
CFE has also been providing mittens at Olds Elementary School.
“Nobody wants to send a kid home without mittens or a hat, so we’re able to help them out there as well,” Trehearne says.
In addition, Olds College has donated coats and Deer Meadow School undertook a drive to help out.
This year, depots have been set up at two more locations in the community — RIPS Audio Video and the Westview Co-op. They can also be dropped off at The Brick. Those who need winter clothing can obtain them at the Church of the Nazarene.
When interviewed earlier, Trehearne said Coats For Everyone had served more than 170 families, up from 150 last year and 100 to 120 a couple of years ago.
She defines “families” as groups of four people.
Trehearne figures the downturn in the economy is a factor in this year’s larger numbers.
She says they don’t discriminate when providing coats.
“One of the key factors of the Coats For Everyone program is that there is no requirement. The main requirement is that you’re cold,” Trehearne says.
“We don’t take applications; we don’t need your name. We don’t care how much money you make a year. If you’re cold and you want a coat and we can help you, we will help you.”
Over the years, the program has expanded in other ways besides the number of recipients.
Two special needs people and two of their assistants are helping out at CFE.
That’s been a big relief for Trehearne.
“It has gone from just me in there to four people working,” she says. “Now I just do the administrative work – I just run around and try to hang signs up and talk to people and tell them about our program.”
Although the coats, etc., are supposed to be “gently used,” Trehearne says that term can mean different things to different people.
“The ones that are worth putting away for next year to bring out, we put them in storage. And then the ones that aren’t, we send on to the different agencies in Calgary and Red Deer – anywhere else where anybody may need them,” she says. “So nothing goes to waste.”
Trehearne has an idea for how the program could be improved.
“We have always had trouble getting footwear. One of the ideas we were thinking about is you know how lots of people have mitten trees? Maybe we could have a boot tree,” she says.
“This is Alberta, and I have seen storms come in March and stay until April. So we don’t usually fold it up until mid-March.”DEBORAH TREHEARNECOORDINATORCOATS FOR EVERYONE