Two local organizations have launched a clothing drive to keep the city’s homeless population warm this winter.
Bissell Centre and Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society launched a two-day clothing drive and are accepting donations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.
Scarlet Bjornson, communications specialist for Bissell Centre, said the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for winter clothing donations. She added capacity issues for daytime spaces have been an issue and has often led to people lining up to enter the building.
“If it keeps you warm, it will keep them warm,” Bjornson told Postmedia.
“It’s important for us to have stock so that if a person arrives and they have to wait in a lineup and they don’t have a jacket or mittens, then we can go and grab those items for them and get them all bundled up and get then get them inside as soon as we can.”
Homelessness in Edmonton has been a growing concern . Since the start of the pandemic, an additional 1,200 Edmontonians are now homeless.
Vernon Boldick, promotions and communications coordinator for Bent Arrow, said the consequences can be harsh for those not staying warm in the streets.
“A lot of good people who are going to be without homes are going to be very, very cold and we know that during the winter there’s a risk of frostbite, hypothermia and even death for a lot of these vulnerable populations if they don’t have shelter or warm clothing,” said Boldick.
“Anyone who is able to bring in clothes, warm jackets, gloves, mitts, boots or whatever it is will be very helpful.”
Donations can be dropped off outside Bissell Centre on 96 Street, Bent Arrow’s Parkdale School location or at Bissell Centre’s donation centre.