Kamloops has had its first official reminder of winter. With the first snowfall of the season arriving at the beginning of November, it’s time for many of us to pull out winter coats and boots in preparation. However, some people in Kamloops may not have a coat to put on during these cold and snowy days.
Jennifer Cottell, the owner of Amazing Inspirations on the North Shore, says that she was scrolling through Facebook one day when she got the inspiration for setting a coat rack outside of her shop.
The idea is simple, if you have an extra coat, leave one and if you need a coat, go ahead and take one.
“I saw it and I just stopped for a minute. I thought why not, why not do something like that? I know that there are a lot of programs in Kamloops, but I know a lot of people that are struggling. There’s a lot of shame and stigma,” Cottell said.
The clothing rack, filled with coats and other essential winter gear, helps to take away some of the pressure on people who need a coat but don’t want to ask or have to sign up for a program.
“Often a lot of [people who are struggling] aren’t involved in programs. They don’t want to be involved in programs, where something as simple as signing your name onto a sheet once a week to get a free jacket from say, the Salvation Army is too much for them,” Cottell said.
Cottell says that she made a post on Facebook about the clothing rack, and could not have predicted the outcome.
“I posted it and within a day I had people asking where they could drop off and people were dropping off before I could even get set up,” Cottell said.
The rack has not only had a great response with people dropping off winter gear that they no longer need, but also with people looking to receive some gear to bundle up.
“From the week that I have implemented this program here, it’s countless how many people have come and used the resources here,” Cottell said. “I had a fellow go ‘how much are these shoes?’ and I looked down and he didn’t have any on, he was barefoot. And I was like, ‘they’re free, no questions asked.’”
Cottell adds that putting out a coat rack is a really simple way for her to give back to the community. She encourages everyone to find a small way to give back and lend a helping hand to someone in need.
Amazing Inspirations is located at 148 Tranquille Road, if you wish to drop off or pick up a coat.