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Free clothing store to meet needs of homeless, poor

Deacon Pat Simons (right) and several volunteers pack away clothing after a free clothing store session last week at the parish hall at Saint Saviour's Anglican Church.
July 15, 2013 - 12:17 PM

PENTICTON - A free clothing store is a community must-have according to a local deacon.

The free store is at Saint Saviour's Anglican Church parish hall on Orchard Street near the Soupateria kitchen. The store runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every second and third Friday of the month. About 70 people came in last Friday to find something to wear.

Deacon Pat Simons said the free store's clientele run the gamut from homeless folks, to robbery victims, to those who lost possessions in a fire, to pensioners who can't afford to pay all their bills.

Simons realized the free store was necessary since she helped someone move into an apartment several months ago. The person needed furniture but also new clothes to wear as well. The deacon realized something needed to be done.

"We are an affluent society," she said. "There's nobody who should ever go cold in Penticton."

She put out a call for donations and soon socks, blankets, shoes, coats, towels, sweaters and even underwear were dropped off at the parish hall. At first the volunteers had children's clothing to give away but none were taken. Men's clothing is what's needed. Simons said it seems men hang on to their jeans and other items for years rather then throw them out or give them away. The free store also has some pieces of formal clothing for those going to job interviews.

Furniture has also been donated. Simons didn't have the space at the parish hall so she canvassed storage companies. No one thought she would get free space to store couches and chairs but she did.

"Everybody was shocked. I was shocked."

Affordable Storage Centre on Green Mountain Road donated an eight-foot by 10-foot unit. Simons explained those who need furniture might have to find a way to transport the pieces themselves or be prepared to give the free store volunteers a hand in moving.

With the free store up and running, Simons plans on creating a brochure. It will have locations and times where free food is available, free clothing, where to go for free showers, etc.

For those interested in donating clothing or furniture to the free store call Simons at 250-492-3238 or Saint Saviour's church at 250-492-4325.

To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @shannonquesnel1

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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