The seventh annual Cover With Kindness drive is doing things slightly different this year.
Last year the drive helped out around 300 people in need.
“I kind of thought wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if we could spread that to some of our smaller communities,” event organizer Greg Litwin said.
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He approached local real estate companies to get involved, who Litwin noted have access to those who are moving and may want to get rid of unwanted items that could be better used elsewhere.
“I’m happy to say that thus far I have three real estate companies on board,” Litwin said.
In previous years the drop-off point was Litwin’s downtown Penticton office, at 699 Main St. Penticton. Now with Royal LePage, RE/MAX and Chamberlain Property Group on board, all of their offices throughout the valley act as drop-off points as well.
Holy Cross School had Grade 7 students pitch in this year as well.
“It’s really heartwarming when you see these little kids bringing in bags of clothing,” Litwin said.
Cover with Kindness is helping out the homeless and those in need by collecting cold-weather items (sleeping bags, blankets, coats, mitts, toques and in high demand are socks). In need can mean more than living on the streets.
“This will assist these folks in terms of updating their winter wear, so keeping them warm. A lot of folks are not just on the streets, but sometimes they rent apartments and it’s pretty chilly in there,” Litwin said. “Because of the cost of utilities these days, sometimes they can’t afford these utilities so they’ve got it cranked down. So it’s not just for the outside, it’s for the inside as well.”
Litwin said socks and long underwear are always in high demand.
“But anything will do. Anything that’s going to keep the cold off them. Blankets, winter jackets, sleeping bags for some because they will be out on the streets some of these people,” Litwin said.
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Any items left over are donated to the local men’s shelter.
“Nothing goes to waste and it’s always given away free. There is no charge, so hopefully it gives them a few bucks to spend on something like food, good food,” Litwin said.
Toiletries, toothpaste, toothbrushes and generally hygiene products are also sought after.
Litwin started the Cover With Kindness drive seven years ago with his wife. While working on the coast, he saw a blanket drive in the downtown East side of Vancouver.
“I thought, wow, what a great idea, so I came back here and went to just buy the folks a couple blankets,” Litwin said. “We thought we’re just going to start something and try and approach our community and see if they can gift a lot of those things to those in need. There are so many people who have unused coats, blankets, sleeping bags in their closet that they haven’t used for years and years.”
The Cover With Kindness event takes place in the hall at St. Saviour’s Church on Dec. 19 and 20. Donations are able to be collected up until Dec. 16.
For more information, call Litwin’s office at 250-770-8888.