A group of volunteers were busy sorting through piles of warm coats for children and families Saturday as winter looms down on Pictou County.
This year’s Coats for Kids giveaway at New Glasgow Fire Department handed out more than 300 gently used warm coats and boots ready for people who cannot afford decent winter clothing.
“Coats for Kids giveaway has been in Pictou County for 13 years, we’ve been doing it every fall and the way it works is people donate gently used kids coats and winter wear and we give it out to the community,” said local volunteer Erin MacLeod.
Many people in need of winter wear stopped by in the morning to pick it up, but when The News stopped by after lunch, tables were still piled high with coats that MacLeod and fellow volunteer Anne Blandford were busy sorting through.
Blandford said that providing winter clothing for both children and their parents would allow lower-income families to spend their funds on their kids in other ways.
“Pictou County, like most communities, has a number of people who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Blandford.
In her view, the need for good winter gear had remained fairly constant over the years, but lineups have become more common as more and more local people hear about Coats for Kids.
“More people show up. They’re lined up at eight o’clock in the morning for a nine o’clock opening,” said Blandford.
Earlier this week, local low-income folks also received some help from this month’s Pictou County Food Drive, which received cash and food donations equivalent to at least 22,000 pounds and counting as of last Thursday.
However, child poverty remains a problem locally.
A family and child poverty report released in 2014 revealed that 24.3 per cent of children in New Glasgow were living below the poverty line, compared to 18.6 per cent in Halifax.
This marked out New Glasgow as the third-worst place for child poverty that year, behind Cape Breton’s rate of 32.6 per cent and Kentville’s 24.4 per cent recorded at that time.