The 12th annual Coats for Kids campaign begins next week and organizers say the need is greater than ever due to the impacts of COVID-19.
People are urged to bring gently used coats, hats, mitts, boots and scarf donations for children to the drop-off depot on the main floor of the Confederation Court Mall.
"The need is black and white," said Dawn Alan, the executive director of Downtown Charlottetown Inc.
"We need those donations to come in so we can get these coats in the hands of the families and the children that need them before the weather turns."
According to Alan, the number of coat donations has been dropping over the past few years. Two years ago, she said the count fell from 800 to 400.
Last year, they had only 300 coats to distribute.
When you consider two, three, four kids in a family, that 300 [coats] doesn't go very far. - Dawn Alan, Coats for Kids
"When you consider two, three, four kids in a family, that 300 doesn't go very far," she said.
"We're actually hoping that in this year of COVID that we'll have the opposite effect — that people will realize early on that folks are hurting and there's not that extra dollar to go around."
'Coats aren't an option'
The drop-off bins are open from Oct. 5 to Oct. 24. Alan said the bin donations will be collected by volunteers and brought to Sterns Laundry for cleaning before making their way to the Salvation Army.
"We want to make sure that everything that is donated and gets into the hands of the families is really well looked after and very clean."
For those with children in need of a coat, Alan said they can reach out to the Salvation Army through its website or by calling 902- 892-2281.
And for those interested in donation, she said not to forget about the small infants who need buntings and teenagers who wear adult sizes.
"Coats aren't an option," said Alan. "We need them for the children."
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