Feature Story                                                                                          Thursday, February 21, 2013


Out of the Closet

The power of community evident with BIA winter clothing drive

Staff/Voice photos


Ruth and Naomi's Mission Street Operations Director Ted Stoker, and his wife Ann, unload a van full of donated clothing on Tuesday. Below, Louise Logan pitches in.


ith temperatures hovering around the point where it can snow, there is a need for warm clothing at Ruth and Naomi's Mission.


On Tuesday,  Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association (DCBIA) Executive Director Kathy Funk and Board Member Louise Logan, who is also the Prospera Credit Union branch manager, arrived at Ruth and Naomi's Mission in a van stuffed with 335 items from 13 local businesses that took part in the FortisBC's Turn Down the Heat campaign. The provincewide awareness initiative asked people to conserve energy and wear another layer around home and work February 2-9.


The DCBIA and Prospera Credit Union wanted to help, so they put together clothing drive that coincided with FortisBC's energy saving program.


Funk said they were really excited about being involved in the program, and noted that DCBIA employees injected their own kind of energy into the drive tried to go one step further with it.


“Our staff went the extra mile with a lot of promotional material, and it was an example of the BIA jumping in and making it fun as well.


“We believe in the work they do at Ruth and Naomi’s,” Funk concluded.


“FortisBC and the Business Improvement Areas of B.C. have tallied their results from the first-ever "Turn Down the Heat Week." From February 2 to 9, the organizations encouraged British Columbians to turn down the heat and donate warm clothing to those in need. Over 5,000 sweaters - double the goal of 2,500 - were collected by local businesses and FortisBC employees,” said a release on Monday.


"We are overwhelmed by the positive response to '"Turn Down the Heat Week" and are particularly appreciative of all of the businesses  which turned down their thermostats and jumped in to collect this amazing number of sweaters," said Ken Kelly, Chair of BIABC and General Manager of the Downtown Victoria Business Association. "Business improvement associations in our province are well-known for their engagement in their communities and this campaign has really been a great demonstration of this."


Logan said Prospera Credit Union was thrilled to get involved and help with the drive.




Louise Logan, Kathy Funk, Ruth and Naomi's volunteer, Ann and Ted Stoker.


“I presented this to the staff, and the BIA put out the package, and of course our membership being a credit union, we're all about giving back to the community,” she said adding “we even had a few of our members bring handmade sweaters and scarves for people.”


Ted Stoker, Mission Street Operations Director, told the Voice the clothing donations are given out free of charge.


“Everything that's donated to us is handed out again to those that need it at no cost to them,” he said.


The clothes were all brought inside to a room off the dining area where Stephanie Simpson was eagerly waiting to sort them and load the shelves.


Simpson has been a Mission volunteer for about 4-years and says she gives out 85-100 articles of clothing out to people in need every 3 days.


She says they take in clothes all week long clean them and then on Wednesdays take what they don’t need to Bible for Missions where they’re sold.


“We rotate boxes, so it's an on-going thing anyway. It's very busy all year. Sometimes it’s a bit of a shambles, but by Wednesday, it's all sorted and cleaned again,” she said.


Just to keep things organized, the storeroom is equipped the original rack from the dry cleaners that used to be here built in the 40's and it still works.


“Ted wouldn't part with it,” she said.


“People always say 'thank you' to me, and I said don't thank me, if it wasn't for Christian people out in the community, we wouldn't have the things we have.”


See more photos below



Related Links

Read Turn Down the Heat campaign stats, visit www.bia.bc.ca

Learn more about the Downtown Chilliwack BIA, visit www.downtownchilliwack.com

Find more about the programs and services offered at Ruth and Naomi’s Mission  www.ruthandnaomis.ca

See useful energy saving tips at www.fortisbc.com


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