Brockville, Ont. outreach group receives clothing donation from local retailer
An outreach program through a Brockville, Ont. The church has received a boost thanks to a local shop that offers used clothing for those in need.
St. Johns United Church hosted free breakfast once a month prior to 2020, but the pandemic changed the way they could do things and now offered bagged lunches.
“We assemble about 40-45 bags once a month at the end of the month,” said Elaine Kennedy, outreach committee member.
“We have egg salad, tuna, a turkey salad, and ham and cheese seem to be pretty popular,” Kennedy noted. “In each of these bags is a soda box, fruit, a sandwich, and some cookies and some candy.”
The outreach committee says an average of 40 to 50 people use the program, and now they have something new to offer visitors.
“We were contacted by a local retail store and they said, ‘Listen, we have some extra stuff that we really don’t want to landfill or don’t want to get rid of, can you use it? ?’” said Church Council member David Dargie.
“Of course our response was absolute, and that started in the fall of 2022 and we’ve continued each of those lunches,” he added.
Clothes boxes that may have been returned or have minor imperfections such as missing buttons are now given a second chance.
“Right now we have everything from winter boots, winter gloves, warm socks are a big seller, I just saw someone take away three pairs of socks today,” Dargie said.
“We have warm coats, we have hats, we have scarves, everything winter-related,” he added, saying the retailer has given away at least seven boxes. “We also have a few boxes ready for spring, which will be summer clothes.”
A steady stream of people walked through the church doors on Saturday morning, choosing new gloves or boots and thanking members for their generosity.
“They always look forward to a nice lunch and are very grateful and they often share a little bit about themselves and of course the warm clothes are appreciated,” Kennedy said.
Some of the clothing items offered by the outreach program at St. John’s United Church in Brockville, Ontario. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)
If there are any leftovers at the end of the day, the group will make sure they get a home too.
“We’re going to take this to the warm-up center and we’re going to take it to other places where both the food and the clothing can be distributed,” Dargie said.
“There’s so much retail clothing that ends up in landfills, it’s just ridiculous how much gets thrown away,” he noted. “It will not be in a box in the basement of St. John’s United Church, it will be used.”
“We’re doing our small part,” Kennedy added. “I am very grateful for all the goodwill we have in this community. It’s a wonderful community.”
“I worked for charities and nonprofits in Brockville for a long time,” Dargie said. “It’s just another example of how Brockville is there.”
The local shop that sells the used clothing declined to be named.
The outreach program runs on the last Saturday of the month through March at St. John’s United Church.