Since hurricane Fiona hit Glace Bay, N.S., in September 2022, community and family services has seen an uptake in individuals and families accessing its services. With leftover donations from its winter coat drive, The Salvation Army in Glace Bay hosted a free clothing giveaway to supply coats, clothing, cold-weather gear and other essential items, free of charge.
“After Fiona, we saw a lot of people coming in because they had lost everything. People came into our food bank having had to choose between putting oil in their tanks or food in their cupboards,” explains Captain Charlene Barrett, corps officer. “This is one less thing they have to worry about. If we can offer them clothing, then they don’t have to take money from somewhere else in order to buy clothes.”
More than 60 people attended the clothing giveaway in January, which was held at the corps and offered clothing for all sizes and ages, from infants, children and teenagers to adults. Essential toiletry items, such as shampoo, were available for anybody who needed them.
One mother who came to the giveaway with her young daughter quickly eyed a housecoat. “She had been looking for one and when she saw it, she was quite excited that she had something to take home to snuggle up and watch TV in,” says Captain Barrett.
“We have also noticed many international people coming to the area for university or work who require assistance,” says Captain Barrett. “They were all incredibly grateful, appreciative of and quite surprised by the items they were able to take home with them.”
With some clothing still left over after the giveaway event, Captain Barrett and volunteers then planned to visit New Waterford, N.S., to offer the rest of it to people who were unable to travel to Glace Bay for the giveaway.
Through this event, the Glace Bay corps has reached people in a new way by talking to and building up their community. Captain Barrett credits the corps for their ability to come together.
“Our volunteers here are so compassionate. One of the ladies even talked to some people about our church and they have come back to attend our services since then. It’s about building those relationships,” says Captain Barrett. “The people in our church are really stepping up and wanting to help as much as they can, and we are very excited about the opportunities that come through our ministry.”