By Villeneuve, Melissa on December 2, 2016.
Children from Lethbridge Colleges Hands On Early Learning Centre stand around their big bag of gifts as Kodiaks athletes Salma Moreira, Kayla Enders, Chris Maughan and Robert Myles III applaud during the wrap up of the Kodiaks Warm Paws campaign Thursday at Lethbridge College. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald
Hundreds of men, women and children will have warm heads, hands and hearts this winter thanks to the Lethbridge College Kodiaks Warm Paws campaign.
A total of 873 items of winter clothing were donated to six local charities on Thursday morning.
The campaign solicited donations of new mittens, gloves, scarves, toques, socks and other outerwear to help Lethbridge’s less fortunate this winter. A total of 755 items were collected at six drop-off locations around the college. An additional $400 was raised and used to purchase another 118 items.
“It’s just been a great example of the community growing together,” said Christopher Maughan, Kodiaks athlete and Warm Paws spokesperson. “I feel really privileged being part of the Kodiaks so that we can have the opportunity to help people this time of year.”
This is the fourth year of the campaign. More than 1,500 items were collected in the previous three years.
Maughan was in his rookie year playing for the Kodiaks when the first campaign began. He said seeing the support the first year, and how it’s continued to grow, has been fantastic. He hopes the legacy continues on for all new Kodiaks athletes.
“I think great things happen when you’re able to look beyond yourself,” he said. “I think we’ve been blessed with a lot of opportunities and it’s really nice to be able to give that back to those that gave to us.”
Kodiaks athletes and coaches helped to distribute the items to representatives from Wood’s Homes, the Lethbridge Emergency Shelter, Streets Alive Mission, YWCA Lethbridge and District, the Boys and Girls Club of Lethbridge and the Hands on Early Learning Centre (the College’s on-campus daycare provider).
Jennifer Gullage-Payne, executive director of Boys and Girls Club, said the donation will mean more warm hands and heads for children within their organization.
Even though there isn’t snow on the ground and the temperatures haven’t been too chilly, Gullage-Payne said they still have to make sure the kids are bundled up well to go outside.
“We do have a lot of families that struggle to make sure they have all the necessities for winter, so this will help us quite a bit,” she said.
The Boys and Girls Club of Lethbridge serves about 300 children every week. Gullage-Payne says the items will be dispersed as needed.
“We’ll also keep some on supply for the club so we can wash and reuse and make sure no one goes outside with a cold head.”
As a charity and a non-profit, Gullage-Payne said community support goes a long way toward ensuring they can provide their programs and services.
“As I said before, we see 300 children every week. That’s a lot of people we need to make sure are prepared to go out into the world to become successful, so we do rely a great deal on our support from the community.”
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