The free clothing racks at Our Place Society are looking fairly lean, especially on the men’s side. The downtown service provider is encouraging community members to donate any unwanted clothing, from pants, shirts and coats to new socks and underwear for both men and women, all of which is made directly available to those in need. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Victoria’s Our Place in desperate need of clothing donations

Downtown service provider feeling pinch from less frequent community clothing drives

A fresh bag of men’s clothing is hung up on a rack in the basement of Our Place. Within seconds, a trio of men converge on the rolling wardrobe.

Such is the case when the stores of clothing at the Pandora Avenue facility run short.

“Right now we’re short of absolutely everything,” laments Grant McKenzie, communications director at Our Place.

“A lot of times in December, we’ll get truckloads coming from charity drives and things like that, and that helps us get through the winter, because it’s wet and it’s cold, and keeping people dry is very important. But this year we didn’t get those big truckloads and it ended up depleting every piece of clothing that we have, which makes it very difficult for people to find something that fits,” he says. “You’ll see people that are wearing shoes that are too small, or pants that are too tight or too big, and they’re holding them up with a string. So we’re really short of everything, the whole gamut.”

While women’s clothing of all kinds is always gratefully accepted, men’s clothing is particularly in high demand and short supply. Unlike women, who are more prone to switch their wardrobe with the changing seasons, many men wear their jeans, t-shirts and outerwear, like rain jackets, until they’re getting threadbare before throwing them away, McKenzie says.

“So if you’ve lost a lot of weight, or gained a lot of weight and you don’t need those clothes, it would be fantastic if the men would jump into their closets and bring some of that stuff down.”

There is no middleman when clothes are donated to Our Place – volunteers and staff sort them and put them out for people to take away free.

After picking up some items, a man stops to say how much he appreciates the media letting the public know of the need. Adds McKenzie – “when people get something like that, a pair of pants that fit, it can change their whole demeanor.”

Always a need, but especially during the wet winter months, is the need for new socks and underwear. As people on the street and some others in poverty have limited access to laundry services, Our Place hands out upwards of 100 pairs of socks and underwear a day.

On the subject of staying dry, McKenzie said one volunteer nurse who used to be head of surgery locally told him that the number of foot amputations is down dramatically, largely due to the foot inspection protocol at Our Place. With less people suffering debilitating foot rot, it prevents other conditions such as diabetes to cause other problems.

RELATED: Foot care provided for those with ‘street feet’

Donations of clothing are accepted 24/7 at Our Place, 919 Pandora Ave. For more information, visit ourplacesociety.com.

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

More than 115 people attend UVic blood drive

Canadian Blood Services says UVic is a target location to create lifetime donors

Potential for Greater Victoria sewage project to go over budget

“Our confidence [in meeting budget] is not high”

Home care complaints up 45% on Vancouver Island

Number of home care hours delivered down 6%, complaints up 45 %

City of Victoria endorses potential class action lawsuit against fossil fuel giants

Data will be gathered to quantify how much environmental damage the city has faced

Residents push back on downtown Victoria tree removal

The birch tree at the Wharf-Government intersection will be removed to make way for bike lanes

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

Collapsed floor traps worker at decommissioned North Island pulp mill

Man frees self, escapes injury, investigation underway at Elk Falls facility in Campbell River

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Suspect allegedly armed with handgun robs Island gas station

Incident occurred Sunday night in Nanaimo

MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Factors for increase in eagle cases can be anything from lead poisoning to vehicle strikes

Most Read