The response to this year’s Toronto Police annual coat drive has been overwhelming.
Started four years ago by Constable Joanne Tawton and Station Operator Gary Long of the Toronto Police Operations Centre, almost 150 used coats for the homeless and needy were collected in the inaugural year.
The drive lasted all of December.
This year, over 500 coats were dropped off at boxes at police headquarters and a few of the Divisions for distribution.
“We started this drive with the full realization that there are many people out there who are unable to acquire warm gear for the cold weather,” said Long. “We have gone from 150 to over 500 coats donated by members of the public and our own uniformed and civilian members. Just today, an employee’s son saw what we are doing on TV and gave his mom a coat he was not using to bring in here for us to distribute. It’s awesome.”
Among the shelters in the city that coats went to were Covenant House, The Scott Mission and Women’s Residence.
The coats were picked up from headquarters and distributed on January 6.
“We are a few days behind in getting the coats out because of the way our shifts fell,” said Tawton. “However, with this cold snap we have now, it’s imperative we get them out to those in need as soon as possible.”
Tawton thanked Home Depot for their support over the years.
“They provide us with the big cardboard boxes, packing tape and wrapping to make the donations more presentable,” she added. ‘They, along with U-Haul which has provided a vehicle to take the coats away, have been great over the years.”