In the midst of September’s mild temperatures, it’s easy to forget how harsh Ontario’s winters can get. But those cold months aren’t far away, and local efforts to help protect young children in need are about to get under way.
Smiths Falls’ 2017 snowsuit campaign officially launched on Monday, Sept. 18 at Andress Your Independent Grocer.
The Rotary Club of Smiths Falls joined forces with the Smiths Falls Police Service for the launch, set for 10 a.m. to noon. The Rotary Club was represented at the launch by Rotarian Larry Allen, joined by Aaron Tompkins, community services officer with the Smiths Falls Police Service.
The local campaign will run until Oct. 28. Snowsuits will distributed on the weekends of Oct. 28-29, and Nov. 4-5. Distribution will take place from 9 a.m. to noon both days. The distribution point for Smiths Falls is the Gallipeau Centre, with owner Joe Gallipeau donating space to Family and Children’s Services of Leeds, Lanark and Grenville each year for sorting and distribution.
Snowsuits are distributed in Carleton Place from the Baptist Church at 299 Bridge St., and in Perth from the Family and Children’s Services office at 8 Herriott St.
“We strongly encourage families to bring their children out one of those two days to ensure they get the proper size, and also because it is the most effective means of distributing the suits,” said Steve Orr, volunteer coordinator for Family and Children’s Services.
Orr said 2017 marks the 32nd year for the snowsuit campaign in Lanark and the Town of Smiths Falls. A separate campaign takes place in Leeds and Grenville, with Family and Children’s Services partnering with the Kinsmen Club of Brockville for that effort.
Snowsuit drop boxes will be located at the following schools:
- Montague Public School;
- Lombardy Public School;
- Chimo Elementary School;
- Duncan J. Schoular Public School;
- St. James the Greater Catholic School;
- St. Francis de Sales Catholic School; and
- Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute.
Donations may also be dropped off at Andress Independent Grocer, Smiths Falls Memorial Community Centre, The Cooperators Insurance at 52 Abbott St. North, and at Giant Tiger on Chambers Street.
More than 500 snowsuits are distributed throughout Lanark County to children and youth in need each year. Family and Children’s Services purchases roughly 300 new suits annually, said Orr. Gord Jones, owner of Giant Tiger in Perth, provides a substantial discount on the snowsuits. The public are asked to support the campaign by recycling gently used snowsuits, winter jackets, and snow pants, or by making cash donations.