Public steps up to help local women’s shelter, but more donations needed

Click to play video: 'Chez Doris still needs more clothing donations' Chez Doris still needs more clothing donations
Thu, Jul 19: A drop-in day shelter in Montreal is still looking for more donations after nearly running out of clothes. As Global's Phil Carpenter reports, Chez Doris says it needs more underwear, shorts and summer tops to help asylum seekers – Jul 19, 2018

Alannah Gibson is a little less panicked this week.

Gibson is a case worker at Chez Doris, the only drop-in day shelter for women in Montreal.  For more than 40 years they’ve helped their clients with clothing, food and other resources. Recently, though, they ran into problems — they ran out of clothes.

“Last week, it was quite bare, she told Global News. “There were no sweaters, no underwear, no socks, nothing. It was nothing like it is now.”

That’s because the number of new clients has increased dramatically in the last few weeks.

READ MORE: Chez Doris desperately seeking summer clothing amid growing number of asylum seekers

A lot of them were asylum seekers, refugees,” Gibson explained.  “Previously we had seen a bunch from Haiti. More and more, we’re seeing women from Nigeria.”

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“And they take more than our usual clientele,” added Marina Boulos-Winton, the shelter’s executive director, “because they don’t have anything.”

So the organization put out a call on social media for help.

“The public has really stepped up to the plate to help us,” said Boulos-Winton. As a result, they’re now so busy sorting out the clothes that it’s hard to keep up and stuff keeps coming in, but Boulos-Winton stresses that they do need more.

READ MORE: Retired Montreal businessman surprises Chez Doris women’s shelter with $1M gift

“Large underwear, we really need deodorants as well because we give away free hygiene products, we need large-sized comfortable shoes, especially nines, 10s and 11s for women.”

They also need shorts, summer tops, small appliances and household items.  There is one concern, though.

“A lot of these people have never seen snow,” Boulos-Winton laughed, “so they’re very fearful of what that’s going to be like.”

For that reason, she and her staff hope they can get winter donations before November.

For now, though, the priority is summer clothes, and the hope that they don’t run out again.

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