A snow-dusted Christmas tree, decorated with ornaments and bags of warm winter gear stands at the edge of a driveway with a sign: “Please take what you need.”
Alyssa Kirk put up the giving tree outside her Regina home three weeks ago with a few toques, mitts and scarves she bought.
“My hope really is just that whoever needs some warmth or just some help in that moment will feel free to take what they need,” Kirk said, adding she recently moved with her family into the home on Horace Street.
“This is really the optimal location. We have a lot of foot traffic around here, along with the elementary and high school nearby.”
All gear is neatly packaged and labelled in Ziplock bags to make it easy for anyone to take at any time.
“If kids were running out of the house late or just forgot their toque or mitts, they can definitely come over and grab that,” she said.
To spread the word, Kirk posted about the giving tree on her neighbourhood Facebook page.
She’s since received donations from people inside, and outside, the community – even setting up a box outside to accept items even when she’s not home.
Giving Tree highlights need for winter gear
Saskatchewan organizations working with people experiencing homelessness or poverty have also put out the call for winter clothing donations.
“Especially things like warm winter jackets and boots, they’re really high in demand and they’re expensive to purchase for anyone,” said Rochelle Berenyi, communications officer with Carmichael Outreach in Regina.
Berenyi said efforts like the giving tree go a long way to motivate others to give.
“When we all as individuals go out of our way to make a difference, then it can kind of help to bring that to surface — that there is that need in the community, even if you don’t necessarily see it every day,” she said.