Posted on Apr 06, 2023
One in two children of a single parent in British Columbia live in poverty and one in five children live in poverty. There is a growing need among children up to age 18 for warm coats to get them through the winter.
For the past 20 years the Rotary Club of Burnaby Metrotown has been facilitating the “Rotary Coats for Kids” program which has delivered up to 1,900 coats a year. In true community partnership, Rotary works with the local School District and community organizations ensuring that every child in need in Burnaby gets a new winter coat. Schools and service organizations provide a list of children requiring coats with gender and size. photo credit Peakp
Burnaby Metrotown Rotary members deliver coats to children in need
In October and November, when the Rotary Coats for Kids truck arrives on site, each child chooses their coat from the truck and they have an option to pick a hat and/or scarf to go with their coat.
The Rotary club purchases the coats from “Operation Warm”, a Rotary partner based in Philadelphia, which has so far donated over five million coats throughout the US. The remaining coats, donated through the community are sorted, and cleaned. If they do not meet the Coats for Kids criteria they are given to other community organizations for their use in supporting those in need.
The volunteer time of Burnaby Metrotown members totals 500-600 hours each year. Community volunteers, who are friends of Rotary, put in many more hours to donate, collect, buy and distribute coats. A team of seniors knits warmers to enhance the project.
  Coats for Kids promotion goes on through the year
Funding comes from the club's fundraising among individual and corporate donors, plus Rotary District Grants and BC Gaming Grants.
Many local businesses also support the program with in-kind donations. Zeemac Leasing supplies the large cube van that holds six coat racks, along with the lighting, insurance and gas.  And Signs provides decals for the Van which then becomes a rolling advertisement for the project for two months. City of Burnaby provides free storage. The Burnaby Now newspaper sponsors two quarter page ads to promote the program and thank the community.  Edmonds Coin Laundry does all the cleaning of gently used coats donated from the community.
The Rotary Club of Burnaby Metrotown aims to give every child in need a new coat. Rotary Coats for Kids not only brings coats to children in need, but also brings together the city of Burnaby to make a difference.