Officers Lend Hand for Winter Survival

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 11:57 a.m. January 14, 2014

The demand for winter clothing has increased significantly this year with the extreme weather conditions.

Men and women form an assembly line putting items from boxes into clear bags
Constable Matthew McCartney packs kits along with volunteers

Over the last 14 years, community and corporate partners have teamed up through  Project Winter Survival  to provide winter clothing and other items for the homeless.

In 2011, 13 Division was approached to join the project.

“I saw a lot of value in this collaboration,” said Community Response S/Sgt. Mike Matic. “When they reached out to us, we were only too happy to be part of an important community initiative to assist the less fortunate.”

Last year, the Division members along with Youth In Policing Initiative (YIPI) students and Auxiliary members assigned to the station helped assemble nearly 3,000 survival kits.

They will once again assist with packing the kits this year on Saturday, January 18 at The Bargains Group building, 890 Caledonia Rd.

Two men in uniform put items in backpacks beside another woman doing the same
Constables Wilfred Chambers and Ricardo Clayton pack kits alongside other volunteers

“We have been fortunate enough to have 13 Division as part of this project,” said event co-ordinator Marnie Zamperoni. “We have nothing but the highest respect and gratitude to S/Sgt. Matic and his team for their contribution. Their participation have helped elevate the awareness of this project and volunteers have told us how they look forward to seeing and working alongside Toronto Police. We are also supporters of your YIPI program and welcome back the young people to our project. We are happy to acknowledge and recognize the incredible work you do.”

The winter survival kits will be distributed on January 25 to registered social service agencies, shelters and outreach programs in the city and surrounding areas. They, in turn, will hand out the kits to the most vulnerable that are living on streets.

The kits include sleeping bags, winter hats, scarves and gloves, socks, towels, insulated cups, and face cloths.

“There was almost 93,000 individual items that were packed into the kits last year,” said Matic. “The need is real and we are ecstatic to be part of that giving-back process.”

A man in Toronto Police uniform holding a large cardboard box
Staff Sergeant Michael Matic loads a box full of kits
TPS crest watermark