Penticton group spreading holiday warmth

Blankets, toques, socks and other cold-weather gear will be handed out Dec. 17 at the Soupateria

Kim Ehlers and Sheri Raposo with some of the items already donated during the Cover with Kindness blanket drive.

Kim Ehlers and Sheri Raposo with some of the items already donated during the Cover with Kindness blanket drive.

Jack Frost is bound to turn up eventually in Penticton and at least one non-profit is trying to make sure the less fortunate will be ready when winter-like temperatures finally arrive.

To help, Greg Litwin has been stockpiling donated blankets, toques, socks and other cold-weather gear in his downtown office. The items will be handed out Dec. 17 at the Soupateria.

Litwin, a notary public who also sits on the soup kitchen’s board of directors, started the Cover with Kindness blanket drive three years ago and has seen the community’s goodwill grow along with it.

“The generosity was so great last year that the gifts kept coming” even after the hand-out date, Litwin said. “Finally I had to say, ‘OK, guys, enough. Let’s save some for next year.’”

The 2011 edition brought in 50 pairs of mitts and gloves, 25 scarves, 16 toques, 77 coats, 50 blankets and 10 sleeping bags. The 2012 drive kicked off with the donation of 10 hand-knit blankets from a local man who told Litwin’s staff he knits all year and then donates his work to charity.

“He decided to give them to us this year which is really, really nice. Some of those blankets are beautiful,” Litwin said.

While blankets continue to be the focus of Litwin’s efforts, he said any cold-weather gear is appreciated, particularly by people he sees sleeping in the alleys downtown.

“You know they’re freezing there butts off, so if you can pass (anything) along to these guys, you know they’ll use it. It’s not like they’re going to throw stuff away.”

Donations can be dropped off at Litwin’s office at the corner of Main Street and Eckhardt Avenue. Pick-up and cleaning of items can also be arranged. Call 250-770-8888 for more information.

Penticton’s Integrated Community Services team is also seeking specific donations for some of its member agencies. If you wish to donate, the items can be dropped off at the Downtown Penticton Association office at 209-212 Main St. If you’d like to take items directly to the agencies, you can contact the DPA for details at 250-493-8540. Demand on the non-profits is constant throughout the year, but spikes in the winter.

Penticton and Area Women’s Centre:

* feminine hygiene products;

* shampoo;

* deodorant;

* soap;

* toothpaste;

* diapers;

* baby products.

South Okanagan Women in Need Society:

* grocery hampers (suggested $60 or $125 worth);

* new unwrapped gifts;

* non-perishable food items;

* personal care products;

* local retail gift certificates;

* monetary donations.

SOWINS – Women’s Transition House:

* Christmas gifts for 13- and 14-year-old boys.

Penticton Health Centre:

* wool socks for men and women.


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