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Blanket drive underway in Penticton

A blanket drive to help the less fortunate fend off the cold is underway in Penticton.

People are invited to drop off new or gently used items at Greg Litwin's notary public office on Main Street until Dec. 13, it's the fourth year of the drive.

"In the community, there are a lot of people struggling with making a choice between feeding themselves or paying for electricity," said Litwin. "So we are here to help."

Litwin decided to start the drive known as Cover With Kindness after seeing a similar effort underway in the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver.

He and his wife printed up flyers saying they were looking for donations, which were delivered to realtors, bankers and others in the community.

What happened next was an outpouring that continues to this day.

"There was really a snowball effect, so I extended the campaign to schools, churches and government offices, and the response I received was overwhelming," he said.

Community members typically bring in blankets, sleeping bags,  winter coats, scarves, gloves and mittens.  

This year, a 94-year-old man, who is partially blind, knitted colourful toques to warm the heads and brighten the days of those in need.

The toques were given out Friday at the Soupateria, ahead of the scheduled giveaway for the items, because of the cold weekend ahead.

Donations are also picked up at the homes of those who can't get out to drop them off.

"I run into people who say they don't have the Christmas spirit, so I say come volunteer with me," said Litwin.

The official Cover With Kindness giveaway is set for Dec. 16, 17 and 18, from noon to 2 p.m., at the Soupateria and the free store in Saint Saviour's Anglican Church, next door. 

Those involved consider it an early Christmas present to the people they serve daily and all those in need. The soup kitchen also expects to feed 150 people or more on Christmas.

Litwin's office is located at 699 Main Street, or people can call (250) 770-8888. 


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