Overwhelmed by demand, West Island charity appeals for winter gear

The Pearson Educational Foundation is a West Island charity that raises funds throughout the year to purchase brand new snowsuits, mittens, hats and boots to give out to children in need.

But this year, they've received a record number of requests and are scrambling to meet demand.

Last year, the organization's President Donnalynn Rainey said they distributed about 30 snowsuits to students at the Lester B. Pearson school board.

This past week, Rainey said she received 50 requests.

"The principals come to us and give us lists and we provide brand new snowsuits or boots or hats or mittens for anybody who asks," she said.

"I want to help everybody. That's why I'm here."

Antoni Nerestant/CBC

The organization sets its fundraising goals based on how much winter gear it purchased in the previous year.

This season, Rainey said she stocked up on plenty of sturdy winter boots as those tend to be in high demand, but she was caught off guard by the high volume of requests for snowsuits. 

Now she's desperately appealing to the public for help — asking for financial donations or the gift of new winter clothing for kids of all sizes.

"This is so urgent," she said. "I've never even met any of these children and I love them all."