Although the Child Poverty Action Network of Renfrew County still has a couple of unfilled snowsuit orders, the Operation Snowsuit program recently received a boost thanks to a large drop off.
The items were delivered to Giant Tiger by Bell employees and transported to the Operation Snowsuit warehouse upstairs by a number of volunteers who were on hand to receive the shipment, along with CPAN executive director Lyn Smith.
“It never ceases to amaze me how when we are in need the community comes together,” she said. “We recently sent around a list of items we are still short of and people were calling us from all over saying they had things for us.”
This year, Operation Snowsuit has already received about 600 requests for winter clothing, compared to 563 last year and 411 in 2018. Smith was thankful for the help of the volunteers who answered the call to help to transport the bags and bags of winter clothing from the loading zone to the lift, then unloading the items upstairs once they were shuttled to the second floor by a conveyor belt.
“This is wonderful. You call them and they come,” Smith said of the volunteers.
She is also appreciative of the continued support of Bell as the employees collect the snowsuits and boots from schools throughout Renfrew County while doing their regular routes.
“Renfrew County is a big place if you are the only one driving around collecting things,” said Smith. “We need the help of all businesses, organizations and people in the community to do their little piece, otherwise CPAN wouldn’t work. It’s a model that works with community engagement.”
Marshall Saar was one of the Bell employees who recently delivered a trailer load of bags filled with winter clothing and boots. This marks the eighth year Bell has been involved with the collection of snowsuits from schools across Renfrew County and the company continues to be committed to helping, even though it was a different department tasked with the collection this year.
“We’re already out on the road, so it is a good partnership with CPAN,” Saar said. “The schools put in a lot of effort to collect items. Teachers are also on the front lines so they see the needs and push the parents to support the program.”
There are still some specific items needed to fill current requests to Operation Snowsuit. The sizes needed for winter boots are one pair size 6 infant male; for boys one pair size 10, eight pairs size 11, two pairs size 13 and four pairs size 6; for men one pair each size 14 and 15. Four small mens snowsuits are also needed in addition to snow pants – two pairs size 14 girls and two pairs boys size 7. Anyone wishing to donate these items can drop them off at the Renfrew CPAN office in the Phoenix Centre building downtown.