BY HILARY HILTON
As the weather gets colder, the need for warm winter coats far outweighs those who can afford them. If you have a winter coat sitting idle in your closet, put it to good use with the Algonquin Outfitters Winter Coat Drive.
To participate, bring one or more gently used, washed, and wearable winter coats in a sealed clear plastic bag to any of the Algonquin Outfitters locations in Huntsville, Haliburton, Bracebridge, or Oxtongue Lake.
Anyone who donates will receive a coupon for $25 off a purchase of $100 or more, which can be used at any AO location for any product, service, or rental. The coat drive runs until November 30.
This is the eleventh year Algonquin Outfitters has run the winter coat drive and Randy Mitson, AO’s marketing director, says they have no plans of stopping in the future.
“There’s a continued need for it,” Mitson says. “There’s always people that need jackets. We get people who have been homeless for an extended period of time or just struggling for an extended period of time or just people who are new to Huntsville.”
The coats brought to the Huntsville location are donated to The Table Soup Kitchen Foundation—a charitable organization that offers free food, clothing, and other miscellaneous items to the community—where they are given to anyone in need.
The first coats from this year were dropped off to The Table on November 19 and Mitson will be making one more drop-off on November 30. He notes that the community has been extremely generous over the years, however there was a decline in donations both last year and this year due to COVID-19.
“I’m always surprised with how much we get every year,” Mitson says. “Last year and this year have been less, but that’s because more people in the community are in need and when you’re in need, you’re probably not going to donate a jacket; if you’re unemployed, you’re probably not going to buy a new jacket, you’re going keep your old jacket. So I think there are more people struggling that usual. It’s expected, but we do it every year because we don’t want to give up, we don’t want to not do it.”
Each year, Algonquin Outfitters, in partnership with The Table, also helps a local family in need chosen by Heather Cassie, founder and CEO of The Table. This family writes a Christmas wish list and employees at Algonquin Outfitters purchase these items from local retailers, who often help out by offering items at cost, discounted, or for free. Cash donations for this cause can be made at Algonquin Outfitters under the “family account”.
“Our goal is to buy everything on their list,” Mitson says.
The Table is also hosting two events in preparation for Christmas, Gifts for Kids on December 15 and Gifts for Parents on December 16, in which children and parents can come and pick out free gifts for the respective party. Donations for these events are highly encouraged, and Cassie says the items most needed are gifts for fathers and teenagers. Sign up for these events on The Table website.
Cassie stresses the importance of these events, as they provide families who are unable to afford to give at Christmas the ability to do so.
“Christmas is what you remember as a child,” Cassie says. “You don’t remember the day-to-day things. But a big event like Christmas is something a child remembers.”
Algonquin Outfitters are huge supporters of The Table and Mitson says they urge other businesses in the community to become supporters as well.
“The Table is so good to work with. There’s quite a few things that we do with The Table,” he says. “They’re really good at working with people in need. I reach out to Heather quite often and just say ‘what are your needs?’ and then we try to match those needs.”
The Table always accepts both donations and volunteers and encourages anyone to get involved.
For more information on the Algonquin Outfitters Winter Coat Drive, visit algonquinoutfitters.com.
For more information on The Table, to sign up as a volunteer, or to sign up for an event, visit thetablefoundation.ca.
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