About 30 bags filled with snowsuits and winter clothing were delivered to Pembroke Giant Tiger on Dec. 19 by Bell Aliant technicians. These donations will allow the Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network (CPAN)’s Operation Snowsuit to help youth throughout the county. From left are CPAN volunteer Brittany Lemaire, Bell Technician Trevor Phanenhour, CPAN volunteer Debby Lemaire, Bell technician Marshall Sarr, Bell Technician Chad Brand, Giant Tiger Manager Paula Young, Giant Tiger Manager Connie Cliche and CPAN Administration Assistant Michelle Rowe. Missing is Jay Pinkham from Bell Aliant. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

Need continues to grow for CPAN’s Operation Snowsuit

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2018

Snowsuit donations gathered from schools across Renfrew County filled Pembroke Giant Tiger’s warehouse, where they waited to be sorted and distributed to young people in need.

The delivery was made possible through the help of Bell Aliant, whose technicians travelled near and far to collect the snow gear and ensure that Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network (CPAN)’s Operation Snowsuit had enough to help children and teenagers stay warm this winter.

More than 30 large bags of donations were delivered on Dec. 19 to the 5,000-foot warehouse and CPAN Administration Assistant Michelle Rowe said it will go a long way to helping the 485 youth who are part of the program.

Need has climbed over the years.

“This is a 22 per cent increase from last year already,” said Rowe, adding that she believes that this may be due to the fact that there has been such an increase in costs across the line.

A proper snowsuit and all other necessary winter gear like boots, hats and mittens, conservatively costs about $225 per child and are mandatory for comfort and safety when the temperature drops.

Operation Snowsuit allows kids to be kids in the winter by making sure they are warm enough to play outside with friends in the snow, regardless of their parents’ income.

“We want them to be included in all the winter activities,” said Rowe.

“They shouldn’t have to worry about whether their hands are going to get cold.”

The program serves children from newborn to the age of 17. They are always looking for the most popular sizes such as 7, 8, 10, and 12 snowsuits for girls and boys as well as all sorts of winter gear and coats in adult sizes to clothe teens.

“For sizes 7 and 8, we were looking at more than 50 snow pants alone,” said Rowe.

Gently used snowsuits, hats, gloves, scarves, snow pants, winter coats and snow boots are always greatly appreciated. There are many different locations where people can drop off their donations and larger donations may be picked up by Bell Aliant.

“We go from Palmer Rapids and Whitney to Arnprior,” said Bell technician Marshall Sarr.

“It is something that Bell has done for many years to make sure that the kids in the community stay warm,” he added, pointing out that this has been one of the better years for the amount of clothing he and his coworkers have collected.

For information, please visit renfrewcountycpan.ca/operation-snowsuit.