Saturday, May 18, 2024
Highlights 2News

Annual snowsuit fund returns amid increased demand

Connor Lalande
Fort-Coulonge Oct. 23, 2023
The Maison de la Famille du Pontiac’s annual snowsuit fund is returning for the upcoming winter.
The fund, which provides children 13 and under with access to subsidized winter clothing, has grown considerably since its inception, with families throughout the Pontiac now utilizing its services.
Maison de la Famille du Pontiac’s Executive Director Lisa Danis said that over 100 families used the snowsuit fund last year and that for this upcoming fund, she expects that number to rise.
“Every year since covid the demand for the fund has gone up,” Danis said. “We have a lot more families now than we ever had.”
With cost-of-living increases and inflation hitting the bank accounts of Canadians, families are turning to organizations like Maison de la Famille du Pontiac for support.
For example, a 2022 report from Second Harvest, a national food security organization that redistributes excess food to those in need, forecasted a 60 per cent increase in reliance on food banks and other food charities in 2023.
Across the border in the United States, One Worn Coat, a non-profit that runs coat drives throughout the country, has reported a 50 per cent increase in demand from the fall of 2020.
Snowsuits given out through the fund consist of winter jackets and winter pants, purchased by Maison de la Famille du Pontiac in bulk from a supplier. Various sizes and different colours are available.
Maison de la Famille du Pontiac charges $20 per suit provided, the cost of which goes back into the program to help fund next year’s purchase of snow suits.
“We know it’s a difficult time for everyone,” Danis said. “We’re here to help and I would encourage everyone to come in and grab a snow suit. It’s not something that people should be embarrassed by. We are here to help during these difficult times.”
Danis said the organization tracks the number of people using the service so that it can request more support for the program.
“Maybe at some point, we’ll be able to give it for free to the families instead of making them pay $20 to keep the program going.”
In addition to the standard, subsidized winter clothing available, Maison de la Famille du Pontiac is also soliciting donations of gently used, good condition winter clothing. Available to both children and adults for free, articles of clothing that have been donated include toques, mittens and boots.
The final date to register for the fund is November 17. Distribution of suits will go until mid-December.
More information on the fund and how to access it can be found on the Maison de la Famille du Pontiac website.

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