City council members will be collecting clothing and basic necessity donations to give to people in need.
Coun. Charlene Miller started the donation drive four years ago.
“I noticed that our homeless population has grown significantly and they need some supports and a hand up for basic necessities and so I thought, well why not do this,” Miller said in an interview on Tuesday.
Miller initially started collecting donations for women until a member of the public raised concerns about donations for men as well. That’s when former Coun. Evert Botha got involved to help with the initiative.
Miller said all council members, including the mayor, are helping out with the donation drive this year.
“All of the council decided that this was a great idea and so everybody is participating,” She added.
She added the donation drive won’t be as extensive as previous years with the ongoing pandemic but items will still be dropped off at Homeward Bound, Detox Centre, Our House, Stepping Stones Shelter among other places in need.
People are in need of warm winter gear like toques, scarves and socks. The group is also asking for purse and bag donations to carry winter gear.
Because the Stepping Stones Shelter has showers and laundry machines, Miller said the group is also looking for basic necessities like shampoo or shower gel.
Newly elected councillors Tony Head and Dawn Kilmer are involved with the donation drive for the first time.
Head said he wants to insert himself in many areas of city operations and see’s this a necessary connect to the city.
“I know these are short term fixes but it’s the Christmas season and everyone’s in need and…this a good initiative for our city’s most vulnerable and others that are in need,” Head said.
“I have a lot of family that I know they struggle as well, so face masks, hand sanitizer, those things are important to keep each other safe.”
Head said he’s happy to be a part of this initiative, and he’s hoping council can do more “in terms of permanent fixes.”
“I do feel that council has the ability to make long term changes, this is a short fix and a very nice gesture however I think we can do more and we should be doing more for our city’s most vulnerable,” Head said.
Council is in the process of selecting committees and Head encourages city residents to become involved in them. Once the committees start meeting, he believes they’ll identify where city resources need to be placed.
Coun. Dawn Kilmer said the clothing drive is an excellent way to pull the community together during hard times.
“I just know Prince Albert has a huge heart and it’s an excellent way for all of us to just work together to make sure everyone has as safe of a winter as possible and Christmas,” Kilmer added it’s a good feeling to be a part of a team helping the community.
People wishing to donate can call their councillor who will either pick up the donations or arrange for drop-off, Miller explained.
A list of councillors and contact information can be found here: https://www.citypa.ca/en/city-hall/members-of-council.aspx