June 24th, 2024

Coats on Finlay another popular success

By Samantha Johnson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on October 31, 2023.

Volunteers at Finlay Bridge had a busy day on Saturday, with winter-wear being selected by those who needed it and new items dropped off continuously.--NEWS PHOTO SAMANTHA JOHNSON

reporter@medicinehatnews.com

Co-organizers Kym Porter and Helen Snortland of Coats on Finlay spoke to the News mid Saturday afternoon and said they had been going nonstop since 9 a.m. that morning and weren’t expecting things to slow down.

“We found in the past, we say noon and people would show up earlier. We still say noon, but we show up at 9 a.m. to set things up, but we can barely get (items) on the bridge before they are gone,” explained Porter, who brought a lawn chair with her and hadn’t yet had a chance to sit in it.

The bins had been turning over with socks a popular item, disappearing as soon as new ones arrived.

“Boots, we have been really short of boots, but we’ve never normally had them and it might be something we encourage for next year,” added Snortland.

All volunteers were glad it was a considerably warmer day than the 2022 event. They took turns making regular runs for hot chocolate and Porter said she had Hot Paws inside her mitts.

“We really appreciate the volunteers,” she added. “This is a long, long day as it is, but with the volunteers it takes a big load off. We had nursing students, and we had people from Canadian Fertilizer donate a bunch of things and come and volunteer today.”

A number of second-language families stopped by as this is the first winter they will be experiencing in Canada. Snortland said, “They think this is it (for cold), and we had to tell them, ‘Oh no, you haven’t seen nothing yet.'”

Volunteers remained onsite until about 8 p.m. Saturday evening, but the excess clothing items were left on the bridge for those who wanted to shop overnight. When Porter and Snortland showed back up on Sunday morning, there were only about 25 coats left, which were taken to The Post and continue to be available free of charge until supplies run out. Organizers were impressed that those who came for apparel only took what they needed and others would select a new coat and leave the one they were wearing for someone else.

Snortland and Porter estimate 500 warm coats were donated along with blankets, homemade mitts, hats and other warm apparel. They wanted to express their sincere gratitude to everyone in the community who supported the event.

“The community is amazing. They come and bring their children, it’s an outing and they help hang things on the bridge, it’s really nice to see,” said Snortland.

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