Brockville, Ont. food and snowsuit drive collects two truckloads of donations

Two Brockville community groups partnered together on Saturday for their annual fall donation drive.

Winding their way through city streets, the Brockville Winter Classic Committee and the Kinsmen Club teamed up to collect donations of food and snowsuits.

“This would be our third year doing this, and figured why not tie in with the Kinsmen and do some collecting of snowsuits at the same time? It’s a perfect partnership,” said committee member Jeff Severson.

The food drive began during the lockdown in 2020 and it has continued every year.

Two groups conquered north- and south-end streets, ahead of the Brockville Winter Classic hockey event scheduled for Feb. 17-20, 2023.

“Anything you can do to help out your community is great in times of need like this,” Severson said. “At the same time, we’re getting into our 40s and 50s and a nine-kilometre walk is good for us.”

The Kinsmen Snowsuit Drive is in its 34th year and on average collects around 1,000 snowsuits each fall.

“There are many children in the area that go to school and play outside without winter clothing,” said club member Rob Smith.

“Our goal is 800 to 900 every year. It’s always nice to have more and we also take monetary donations as well; cash, cheques and e-transfer,” Smith added.

Any type of warm clothing is accepted, including hats, mitts and boots.

“We have a lot of people actually knitting hats and mitts these days, which are huge support for us and our children,” Smith said.

A full trailer-load of donations collected in Brockville’s north end. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)

Brockville resident Sherry Martucci did her part as the north-end group drove past her home, and she is encouraging others to do the same.

“I just called my daughter, she lives on another street and she forgot about it so I said, ‘You’ve got some?’ And she said, ‘Yes, I do.’ So hopefully she will drop them off,” she said. “I just feel it’s important for our community. It’s going to be going through some tough times in the future and if I can do what I can then I will.”

The Brockville police and fire departments escorted the two groups. All food donations will be sorted and given to the Brockville and Area Food Bank. The snowsuit drive continues until Dec. 3.

“We had a good kickoff on Nov. 5 down at the Keystorm with all of the free live music that went on for the day, and I think they got a pile of suits there and I know a bunch of cash came in as well too,” committee member and Keystorm Pub owner Dan Thompson added.

“Just keep bringing the suits in,” he said. “Give us a call, give the Kinsmen’s a call, look up all the drop-off spots, you can drop them at the Keystorm for sure and we’ll get them over to Severson’s cleaners and get them cleaned up.”

Brockville locations to drop off snowsuits include Giant Tiger, The Real Canadian Superstore, Home Hardware, Stingers Paintball, the YMCA and the fire station in Maitland.

“Many children go without snowsuits and our motto is ‘serving the community’s greatest need’ and that is what we do in Brockville, is serve the community’s greatest need,” Smith said.

Saturday’s drive collected two trailer loads of items, including more than $1,000 in donations.

“The dispersion of (the snowsuits) is going to be down at Rotary Rink so the P&G facility that we helped construct, that’s where the snowsuit pickups are going to be now,” noted Severson.

“We started off as just a hockey tournament, and we’ve expanded to do many other things now as you can see here,” he smiled.

Snowsuits can be picked up at the P&G Pavilion on Nov. 19, 26 and Dec. 3.

People can also contact snowsuit drive chairman Jim Gilbert at 613-342-4325 if they have any questions.

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