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Calgarians step up to help those less fortunate during deep freeze

Cold snap inspires Calgarians to pay to forward
Calgarians are stepping up in some big ways during the intense cold spell Alberta has been experiencing -- it's enough to warm your heart. Jill Croteau met some of those generous people who giving in any way they can.

Calgary shelters put out the call, and residents answered.

Alberta has been under an extreme cold warning for much of the week, leaving the city’s less fortunate vulnerable to the cold.

Calgary business Local Laundry stopped by the Calgary Drop-In Centre, which said on Tuesday it was in desperate need of donations, with some much needed items on Wednesday morning.

READ MORE: Calgary Drop-In Centre ‘critically’ low on winter clothing

“Today we’re donating over 500 toques, 200 pairs of socks, 50 towels and 50 bottles of shampoo as part of our Giving Garments program” said owner Connor Curran.

Shelters across the country also benefited from the program, Curran said.

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“Every [item] that we sell we’re giving one to a homeless organization. So we have toques, socks and towels and today we’ve donated over 2,000 toques to shelters in Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton and Ottawa.”
Connor Curran of Local Laundry drops donations off at the Calgary Drop-In Centre.
Connor Curran of Local Laundry drops donations off at the Calgary Drop-In Centre. Global News

Darryl McRae is a modest man who used his own money to provide a heartwarming gift to the Alpha House.

“I spent $1,300 and I bought all the boots they had all the coats and all the socks,” said McRae.

A Canadian Tire location in Calgary helped him out by giving him a deal to make his money go a little further. His gesture was welcomed by staff on Wednesday, with McRae getting emotional as he dropped it all off. Choking back tears, he said he hopes to inspire others to do their part.

“When you have more than lots of people have, you have to give. I feel honored to do this. I love Calgary and so it’s my duty,” McRae said. “I don’t need recognition, I would just like to invite other Calgarians to look in your basements and closets and see what you got and bring it down to a shelter.”

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READ MORE: What to do if you see someone sleeping out in the cold in Calgary

Others are paying it forward. The owners of Rumble House, a public art space and gallery in Calgary, set up a table outside the studio, offering up free winter gear. Jessica Theroux said it’s been touching to see people support what they’re doing.

Winter supplies outside Rumble House.
Winter supplies outside Rumble House. Contributed/Daryl McRae
“My stepson Felix was thinking about how cold it was and he knows people live on the streets and we have extra blankets and thought, ‘Oh let’s make a table,” Theroux said. “They were taken within hours of when we put out the first blankets and people have been putting new blankets on the table and [it’s been] just exploding ever since.”
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People can still help out by dropping off items to Calgary shelters, or donating online.

Winter donations outside Rumble House Calgary.
Winter donations outside Rumble House Calgary.