2018 Coat Drive: Time to spread some warmth

With colder days around the corner, we’ve kicked off a beloved Mission tradition at our HDH site:  collecting coats and accessories to help people in our community stay warmer and healthier this winter.

Started in 1997, the Hotel Dieu Hospital Coat Drive was originally the brainchild of OPSEU staff members who had collected money to buy a few children’s snowsuits for a co-worker’s family.  When they delivered the clothing, though, it was apparent that the adults in the family also needed warm coats, and so the call went out.

Over 21 years that call has snowballed into thousands of gently-used coats and accessories.  Last year, more than 700 people in our community visited warm clothing, and more than 1900 items—coat, hats, gloves, scarves and socks—were given away.  As well, the Coat Drive has morphed into a hospital-wide Mission activity now sponsored by the HDH Mission and Values Coordinating Committee, with special support from Volunteer Services.  A few years ago, St. Mary’s Cathedral became a valued partner and distribution site for the winter clothing.

“The Coat Drive is a project close to our hearts and a wonderful expression of the Mission of our Sisters and our HDH site,” says Elizabeth Bardon, VP Missions, Strategy & Communications. 

“We’re grateful that staff and community members rally to support those in need, especially those who might be out on our streets in bone-chilling weather this winter.  For some people, having warm clothing means reduced exposure to hypothermia, frostbite and related illnesses.  For others, having warm outerwear can mean more outdoor physical activity with all the related health benefits.”

How can you help?

We welcome your donations!  Down-filled-style coats and ski jackets are ideal because they’re warm, lightweight and machine washable.   Extra-large sizes in both men’s and women’s coats are especially needed, as are washable thermal socks, hats, gloves, scarves and blankets. 

Coat collection runs October 15 to November 16.  At the HDH site, look for the bright red bin located inside the Sydenham Street entrance (upper level).  At the KGH site, please drop off items in the bin located at the Information Desk in the main lobby.

Community distribution of all winter clothing starts November 12 at St. Mary’s Parish Hall (corner of Brock and Clergy Streets).  The distribution centre will operate weekdays, 1 to 4 p.m., until December 19 and then open again January 2 to 18. There will be no distribution of coats at the HDH site.

For more information about the Coat Drive, please call 613-544-3400, ext. 4204.

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