HALIFAX – Coats and mitts, hats and scarves, were wrapped around poles, benches and fences along Spring Garden Road on Sunday, waiting for someone less fortunate to bundle up as the weather gets cold.
Each set of warm winter clothes with a tag reading “I am not lost! If you are stuck out in the cold, please take me to keep warm!”
“We put them on poles and handed them out to people who looked like they were cold,” said Tara Smith-Atkins.
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Atkins, along with her husband, 7-year-old daughter and 6 other children and 5 other adults, brought warmth and love to downtown Halifax on Sunday, giving out 35 sets of warm winter items to people who don’t have their own.
“This is something we can do as a more hands on approach,” Atkins told Global News on Monday. “To go right out on the road and do this.”
A child wraps a scarf around a pole along Spring Garden Road on Sunday. Contributed/Tara Smith-Atkins
A child wraps a scarf around a pole along Spring Garden Road on Sunday.
Atkins had been saving coats, scarves, mittens and hats, as well as collecting items from people in their community of Caledonia. N.S., about two hours outside of Halifax. She said she wanted to bring them downtown, though, where she feels the need is greater.
Some of the coats and other items were given directly to people on the street who looked like they needed warmer clothes.
“Each person was really stunned,” Atkins said.
“The man who my husband handed the first jacket to, the man was totally in awe.”
Each of the coats had a pair of mittens in the pocket, and some of the bundles of winter items were simply a warm scarf, mittens and hat.
Teaching a lesson
Atkins said this is one of many outreach activities she does with the children who are part of her at-home daycare, Tara Atkins Home Daycare.
“They need to be grateful and they need to be thankful,” she said, adding that she makes giving to community charities a big part of her teaching.
She has organized donations for Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child boxes, Christmas Daddies, as well as encouraging children to donate their used items to the Red Cross.
“There’s a ton of good people who are eager and anxious to help,” she said.” You just have to get the ball rolling.”
Zipping a coat around a pole that someone can come take later if they are cold. Contributed/Tara Smith-Atkins
Zipping a coat around a pole that someone can come take later if they are cold.
Atkins said she and her husband had done a similar thing while in Toronto last year, but this year she wanted to bring it “A little closer to home.”
“To see all the poverty, it was a little heart shattering.”
Atkins said she hopes to make this an annual thing, and that next year they’ll be able to add $5 fast food gift cards to each bundle of winter gear so that people who get them can also get themselves something warm to eat or drink.