File photos for UBC Okanagan Heat athletics

UBC Okanagan Heat work hard for clothing drive

The drive was spearheaded by the athletes

“These clothes are essential and are going to be critical for the next few months,” the representative from Inn From the Cold – Kelowna, Kody Woodmass, told Heat play-by-play man, Kirk Penton, on Saturday night during the UBCO men’s volleyball match, that served as the culmination of ‘Bring the Heat’ clothing drive.

In total, 771 much-needed items were collected in the drive in the short week, with over 50 winter jackets, and over 250 smaller winter items such as gloves, toques, and scarves.

The entire content of the drive was loaded into a van on Tuesday morning and taken to the SunFM studios for an interview with the spearheading student-athletes from the men’s volleyball interviewed by B Mack and Karly, as the local radio celebrities played a hand in championing the Inn From the Cold drive, and the duo joyfully added UBCO as a partner to their second annual “Cold Weather Clothing Drive”.

B Mack and Karly started their drive on Dec. 10 and are hoping to triple the number of donations they received in their first-ever drive, in total over 3000 pieces were collected last winter.

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In just a few days the Heat were able to add 771 items towards SunFM’s goal SunFM will keep the drive going until Feb. 10.

An early start to the conference season, with students just barely back in class, didn’t deter the Heat student-athletes from conducting a highly successful foray into helping their community by identifying a particular need and trying to help out, and this effort couldn’t have made UBCO new athletic director Tom Huisman any happier.

“As someone who is still relatively new to the community, it was heartwarming to see the incredible response to the clothing drive from both the UBCO campus and from the community at large. Those who rely on the support and programming of Inn From the Cold are among our community’s most vulnerable and are in need of a helping hand and giving heart to be able to make it from one day to the next,”Huisman said.

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“If we can be even a small part of that environment and community that can help improve their circumstance and lives, that’s a special opportunity and privilege. And really, who better to help people needing shelter from the cold than the UBCO Heat,”Huisman said.

The timing of the drive, for the Kelowna shelter, couldn’t have come at a better time, although still open the shelter is on borrowed time, and with its imminent closing, the homeless population will need the warm items more than ever.

“Our shelter will be unfortunately closing in January,” said Woodmass. “Unfortunately, we have not been able to secure another location yet. Regardless, Inn from the Cold will still run through our office location, ensuring that these members of the community have the support they need, and clothing that is necessary for upcoming cold winter months.”

“We are still on the hunt daily for a new location,” said Woodmass. “Inn from the Cold – Kelowna plans on providing support to the most vulnerable members of the community regardless of our changing environment.”

Although the campaign is over the need is not and items and cash can still be donated. The items most sought after during the campaign are: Gloves/mitts, snow pants, jackets, toques, sweaters/hoodies, long johns, winter boots, men’s jeans/pants, hand warmers, and toiletries.

The organization will also be able to accept cash/cheque at their office. Tax receipts can be issued for any donation $20 or more. Mailing information will be taken at the time of donation and a tax receipt is processed internally and mailed out.

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