Due to Ponoka currently being under enhanced watch status by the province, Ponoka United Church has had to close its doors to the public, although the Coats for the Cold program will continue as much as possible.
“Even though the church is closed, we’ll do our best to accommodate those in dire need,” said Charlotte Boychuk, Coats for the Cold coordinator.
“We’re hoping this is just temporary.”
The church building may be open to the public again in the next week or two, but it will depend on the situation with COVID-19 case numbers and public health restrictions.
Coats for the Cold is asking people to call ahead, either to make use of the program or to drop off donations, to arrange a time to come during Boychuk’s office hours.
Only one person at a time will be allowed in the office and masks will be required while in the building. All other COVID-19 protocols will be followed as well.
If you’re unable to call, Boychuk says they won’t turn anyone away who is truly in need.
The doors are locked, but if people knock, Boychuk says she should be able to hear and come to the door and help walk-ins, while observing COVID-19 protocols.
However, if you do come to the church, you must ensure you don’t have any symptoms, or they will be unable to help you, in order to protect themselves, and those coming in, says Boychuk.
Thankfully, demand has been down somewhat, likely due to the warm weather, however donations are still needed and will be utilized.
In particular, warm socks and clean, wearable men’s boots in all sizes are needed. Men’s running shoes in good condition are also welcome.
In general, the program has been going well.
“Donations have been fantastic,” said Boychuk, adding the quality of donations has been good and there is currently a good selection of items available.
Most donations have also been clean and ready-to-wear as well for the most part, with only a few items needing mending or washing, she says.
“I’ve just been really pleased with it.”
If in doubt if something is suitable for donation, Boychuk says, “Think about yourself — what would you wear?”
Boychuk’s office hours are Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To arrange a drop off or pick up time, call 403- 783-4087.