Donations for Open Closet initiative more than expected
SUMMERSIDE — Audrey Gee-Arsenault is overwhelmed by the response from the community for an initiative aimed at providing warmth to others.
Gee-Arsenault is one of the volunteers with Open Closet, a community-based project organized by mostly members of Summerside Community Church and aimed at providing gently used cold-weather clothing to families in need.
Two drop-off days have already been held and the final drop off is set for this Friday. Already, the group has enough clothing to fill its temporary ‘store’ at McNeill Mall in Summerside, said Gee-Arsenault.
“It’s been amazing,” she added. “We started off on that first night and it was a rainy night, so we thought it would be quiet to start. Still, lots of people came near the end of the evening. We got all our room organized and it really looks great. All the clothes are organized. We have boys and girls and men’s and women’s all in different sizes.”
Costume dresses, sweaters, pants, jewelry, purses scarves, hats, coats, boots, shoes — almost every clothing item imaginable has been donated.
In fact, there has been so much received that volunteers are sorting through the clothing and putting items in storage to be used to replenish racks once they get low.
“Right now there’s not enough room in the store for all the donations,” said Gee-Arsenault. “We weren’t sure what to expect. Even on the Friday that just passed, we go there… and at 1 o’clock there were already bags at the door.”
Cash donations are also being accepted to purchase items like hats and mittens.
Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so by contacting one of the volunteers or by dropping items off Friday from 2 to 8 p.m.
The hope now is that those in need will come to the McNeill Mall in downtown Summerside from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Saturday’s ‘shopping’ day to pick up items that they need, said Gee-Arsenault.
“At first I was worried we wouldn’t have enough stuff for people to come, but now that we’ve had an overwhelming response of donations I am hoping everyone comes to take the stuff.”
Items are free to those in need. Items left will be donated to the Salvation Army.