Giving Tree spreads community warmth

Alycia Douglass
Giving Tree spreads community warmth
Danielle MacNeil and Debbie Fortier stand by Serendipity's latest community project

CORNWALL, Ontario – In the spirit of the season, Serendipity Boutique will be offering winter coats to those in need through The Giving Tree.

While the boutique has a wide range of jackets in-store, all priced at $5, Baldwin House Executive Director, Debbie Fortier says that not everyone can afford even that.

“Not everyone who needs a warm jacket has that five dollars, or would be comfortable coming into the store to shop,” said Fortier. “We wanted to help ensure that we are keeping everyone in our community warm this winter, and we feel that providing this type of free option that is accessible to everyone, allows us to do so in a way that offers individuals dignity and anonymity.”

Instead, Serendipity will have winter coats available outside the store, set up on a rack between the trees on their front lawn.

While the community project seeks to keep people warm, it extends beyond social responsibility, aiming to reduce textile waste in the community.

“Everyone has a coat that is missing a button, or has a tear in the liner, or a pocket zipper that doesn’t work,” said Danielle MacNeil, Public Educator and Volunteer Coordinator for Maison Baldwin House. “Sometimes, rather than donating those items, people tend to throw them away, but those slightly imperfections won’t stop those coats from keeping people in our community warm.” 

Fortier and MacNeil say that the project has received a positive response so far, proving to be a great exercise in community involvement.

“We believe in the goodness in our community, and we know that this project is worthwhile,” said MacNeil.

Donations will be accepted at Serendipity Boutique, and they ask that they are brought to the store or shelter to be sorted by volunteers.

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