Story by Troy Landreville,

COURTENAY, B.C. – The timing of the Coats For Care Foundation’s coat drive couldn’t have been better.

Winter-like weather is on its way to Courtenay and the rest of the North Island region next week.

While the skies will be clear, overnight temperatures are expected to dip to as low as minus-4 C next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Deborah Little knows what it’s like to brave the elements.

The Courtenay resident was homeless and addicted to drugs before she entered second stage recovery housing, and found purpose in helping those in need, and who don’t have a roof over their heads.

She had a major hand in last Saturday’s coat drive at Northgate Church, that collected 29 full bags of donated coats.

The donations will be distributed to those in need in the community, ranging from infants, toddlers, children, teenagers, young adults, woman, men, seniors and the homeless.

“We got a lot of donations,” Little said. “We were only dealing with coats so things that we weren’t able to hang on to, we just forwarded to other organizations for the community.”

The free store store behind the Northgate Church received clothing and footwear and EDAS (Everyone Deserves A Smile) are collecting hats, mitts, scarves and socks and were the recipients of a huge donation from the event.

“They had seven bins and we filled them at church for them,” Little said.

The group also collected donations that will help them with washing the coats, setting up a storage locker, maintaining the Coats for Care cellphone plan, and establishing a website.

The coats are being sorted and stored in a storage locker and then pamphlets are being distributed to local resource centres, recovery houses, and treatment centres to get the word out.

A phone line will be activated and operational from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Volunteers will then retrieve the coats from the locker and distribute them to those in need.

Currently, totes and clothing racks are needed to store the coats in order of gender and size.

To get in touch with Coats For Care, visit its website.