Homeless shelter coordinator Dustin Westerman said many of his clients will be warmer and drier this Christmas thanks to a recent donation of outerwear.
“It was really, really great. We really needed it,” Westerman said of the seven bags of clothing donated by Roy and Evelyn Buxbaum of Good Guys Gardening recently.
“Roy gave me a call last week and said he had a whole bunch of donations of coats and sweaters. I was pretty excited about that because as you can see we don’t really have a lot right now. We haven’t had hardly any donations so far this year.”
Dustin Westerman is the shelter coordinator for the Cariboo Friendship Centre in Williams Lake. He said clients who access the shelter often have many needs.
“This is a homeless shelter, it’s an emergency kind of thing, so some of the clients show up with just the clothes on their back; that could be shorts and a T-shirt, or could be a pair of pants, coat and boots and the whole works, but it varies. It’s nice to have a variety of things to hand out to them when they need it.”
Roy and Evelyn have been collecting warm clothing year-round for many years from family members and customers, mending as needed and washing it to donate at Christmas time.
Roy first started his charity work by providing milk for the food bank. Then he found out there was a need for clothing.
“We started to collect clothing, and every year it’s just gotten bigger and bigger. We are always collecting clothes at any time of the year so anyone is always welcome to drop donations off at Good Guys Gardening and we will take care of it and get it to where it needs to go.”
Westerman said the shelter can use socks, shirts, pants, gloves and hats as most shelter users spend much of their time outside, even in the winter.
“Most of them are homeless, so they don’t have anywhere to go,” he said. “They spend the majority of their time on the streets.”
Westerman said he has seen the kindness of younger clients helping older clients in need on the streets of Williams Lake.
“A lot of our younger clients we will give coats to, then when they’re out on the streets they’ll run into an elder or somebody else they feel is in need of their coat more than them so they’ll give it to them then they’ll end up back at the shelter with nothing,” he said. “So it’s nice to be able to restock them.”