For the past six years, the Toronto Police Service Duty Desk has conducted a clothing drive during the winter for the homeless.
This year, they have collected nearly 300 coats and other warm clothing.
“We have had a tremendous response from officers and civilians,” said Constable Joanne Tawton. “We will take the clothing to Covenant House, Haven Toronto and some women’s and children’s facilities in the city.
Lauro Monteiro,Haven Toronto’s executive director, acknowledged the Toronto Police’s effort.
“This has been a very bad winter,” he said. “So, any items of warm clothing make a huge difference. They could, in fact, be the difference between life and death.”
Monteiro said Haven Toronto provides care to many seniors.
“Could you imagine being in your 60s and 70s and sleeping outside in any kind of weather? I don’t think most people really understand the scope of the problem.”
Michael Shiner, the associate manager responsible for public relations at Covenant House Toronto, agreed that this has been one of the harshest winters in a long time.
“That’s why this this amazing donation from Toronto Police is really appreciated and really needed,” he pointed out. “There might be circumstances where youth might not have a warm enough coat, so they come to us and we will be able to provide them with a warm coat that’s been donated to us.”
Constable Gary Long of the Duty Desk is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from officers, civilians and members of the public who dropped off warm clothing.
“This has been one of the coldest winters in a while and, as such, there has been a huge need not only for coats, but scarfs, hats and gloves,” he said.