'An angel walking among us': Gordon on local children's charity

Anyone looking for proof that there are good people in the world need not look further than the long-running Warm and Cozy charity in North Simcoe.

Waubaushene-based Warm and Cozy Children's Charity started over 15 years ago from the inspiration of Phyllis Stanley and husband Brian to help one child with winter clothing. From that sprang a community project to ensure all children and families in need are cared for during the winter months.

Stanley brought her achievements to Midland council during a recent committee of the whole, addressing what the group has accomplished as well as the passion driving them to their target.

"Our huge goal has always been – and will never change – to help every single child to feel equal to their peers," explained Stanley.

"That helps them to have dignity, self-respect, but most of all to have hope. Because when a child or an adult has hope, all things can become possible. And after these years, I can actually say: it's working."

Throughout the deputation, Stanley shared the ways that Warm and Cozy benefits children throughout North Simcoe by supplying winter clothing free-of-charge. Winter jackets, boots, hats, mittens, and snow suits are core items, but also offered in emergency situations are underwear and socks, as well as track tops and pants.

"We primarily work through the schools as the school teachers know the children first-hand and know the needy families.

"We insist on supplying brand new clothing," stated Stanley. "I mean, clothing is clothing, but brand new clothing to children who have never had anything new has an amazing impact; it lets them know that somebody somewhere actually cares."

Organized through devoted volunteers, the group donates to La Maison Rosewood Shelter as well as 12 area schools.

According to Stanley, studio rooms are established in the schools in a department store fashion where children and parents can find the items they need; and if something isn't in stock, Stanley is quick to resupply within several hours.

"We do budget for miracles, by the way, and we have amazing stories," said Stanley with a joyful laugh. Stories of prayer and supplying locals in need were shared to council, who listened on with wet eyes and large smiles.

While there was no specific ask of the committee other than to bring attention to Warm and Cozy, council members were delighted to express their thanks in her deputation.

"Being a councillor can be pretty stressful, but I'm going to tell you: you warmed my heart tonight," said Coun. Jim Downer. "God bless you for what you do and I think it's marvelous.

"To be honest with you, I didn't know this organization existed, so maybe you've got to get the word out a little bit more somehow. I know I'll certainly be telling people about it."

Mayor Bill Gordon said that when he learned of Warm and Cozy last year and heard Stanley's stories of prayer and success: "It was giving me shivers down the back of my spine that there's an angel walking among us actually doing these things."

Stanley offhandedly mentioned that Warm and Cozy Children's Charity had received the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Volunteerism last year in Tay Township, as well as the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers from the Governor General of Canada prior to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, along with many school board awards. "It's not about that," Stanley quickly noted. "It's about the people and the children."

Information on registered charity Warm and Cozy Children's Charity can be found on their social media page.

Council meetings are held every third Wednesday, and can be attended virtually through Zoom by contacting the clerk’s department of Midland town hall for a link to the meeting.

Council meetings can also be viewed on Rogers TV cable channel 53, or through the livestream on the Rogers TV website. Archives of council meetings are available through Rogers TV and on the Town of Midland’s YouTube channel.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca