With the help of Newark Neighbours, a Niagara-on-the-Lake resident is making sure donated clothing items aren’t wasted and go to the “right places,” including remote communities in northern Canada.
Louise Waldie is one of the three administrators of a Facebook page called Clothing for Our Northern Friends.
It started in February 2015 and has more than 5,800 members from Canada’s northern and southern communities.
The goal of the group is to provide clothing for people residing in remote or fly-in northern communities in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and northern Quebec.
Members can make posts looking for a specific item or post photos of what they’re able to donate. All items are offered for free, however, a person donating clothes can ask to have their shipping costs covered.
“There is a connection made on an individual basis and then people in the south ship it to the people in the north,” Waldie said. “It’s a one-on-one kind of charity.”
“We’ve learned so much about the culture and how different it really is, the northern culture from southern Canadian culture,” she added.
“I hope that anybody who donates something locally recognizes this is not a commercial venture. It’s a really grassroots organization.”
Besides Newark Neighbours, Waldie also looks for clothing in other stores or receives them as donations.
Waldie ships about 50 boxes a month. Shipping a box can range from $18 to $35, depending on the province or territory.
She has also sent more than 800 packages to about 400 individuals or community groups. Her parcels have been sent to Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Manitoba, northern Quebec and Ontario. Newark Neighbours has also been helping to cover some of the shipping expenses.
“We found out last year it costs quite a bit to ship the items, so we’re also helping her out with some shipping costs once or twice a year,” said the organization’s chair Laura Gibson.
“The nice thing is we’re learning about these wonderful organizations that exist that we wouldn’t know about in our community, so I think our donors would feel really good about that organization.”
Waldie said she also provides a list of different organizations where people can send their donations, but always advises to contact them first to make sure those agencies are in need – or extra clothing will just end up in a landfill.
“You can be overwhelmed with generosity, so you have to balance everything that you’re considering, who the recipient is and what you’re doing.”