With temperatures going down in Saskatchewan, the number of people getting a warm jacket to deal with the elements is going up thanks to a program that’s been running for 14 years.
The Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids campaign gave out a record number of jackets this year, organizers say.
Some of these coats are going to help keep children warm this winter, but with growing homelessness concerns — the number of coats handed out to adults in need has increased significantly.
“Saskatchewan has been a leader basically in Canada. Saskatchewan is a real giver. Sixty-eight hundred new coats are coming to our province,” Larry Packet, state deputy with the Knights of Columbus told CTV News.
It surpasses previous years and is higher than any other province. In comparison, in 2020 the Saskatchewan program handed out just under 1,000 coats and last year 5,500.
The national program started in 2009 and the message here in our province was simple from the outset.
“With the terrible weather we have in the wintertime we do not want any kids to go without a warmth of a new coat,” Packet says.
The Knights partnered with schools in the past and also help newcomers stay warm.
“Many of them don’t come dressed or equipped for the cold climate that they’re going to experience so we provided it to the entire family in some situations,” Harvey Granatier, president of the Knights of Columbus charitable fund told CTV News.
The Knights partner with First Nations communities and organizations, trying to reach as many areas of the province as possible.
“The percentage of Indigenous people is a high percentage of what we distribute to communities up north,” Granatier said.
The Knights get their money through donations and various fundraising events, which helped pay for the more than 550 boxes of coats this year.
“It’s fabulous. Saskatchewan has always had a reputation of being a generous population and it just supports that,” he says.
The group expects the need will only increase in the years ahead and hopes to expand the program to include gloves and hats.