MORE than 1900 winter woollies have been donated to Bendigo Community Health Services as part of this year's Community Coat Drive.
The donations included 1498 jackets, 358 blankets and doonas, plus knitted beanies, gloves and socks to keep people in need this winter. Last year's coat drive attracted more than 1200 donations with 800 donations in 2011.
The initiative is a partnership between Bendigo Community Health Services, Pristine Drycleaners and 3BO FM.
Bendigo Community Health Services chief executive Kim Sykes thanked the Bendigo community for its generosity.
"This wouldn’t have been possible without the ongoing support of the team at 3BO FM to help us get the word out and the unbelievable effort of the very busy team at Pristine Drycleaners who dry-cleaned every item at no cost," she said. "There is an increasing number within our community who really struggle to make ends meet.
“Most of us take it for granted, being able to buy a coat or blanket for winter. Some people are without a place to call home and living really rough while others have nothing left after food and rent. There is also a growing number of working poor who really struggle to make ends meet. The coat drive is another great example of what communities can achieve when we work together.”
Pristine Drycleaners staff went the extra mile by coordinating workplace collections with a Bendigo school donating about 30 bags of coats.
Staff were moved by a young girl, who they say was about three years-old, who visited the shop with her mother and handed over her coat which she'd outgrown.
“We want to thank not only our wonderful partners but those who donated coats and blankets," Ms Sykes said. "Thanks to your generosity we are able to help those who struggle to keep warm in our cold Bendigo winters.""
Coats are available at any of the Bendigo Community Health Services sites, located at: 171 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo; 13 Helm Street, Kangaroo Flat; and 3 Seymoure Street, Eaglehawk.