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

Man flees Bay Centre after daytime sexual assault in downtown Victoria

The suspect physically and sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl shopping with a friend

Chinese New Year takes to the streets of Victoria

Hundreds brave chilly temperatures to usher in the Year of the Dog

Storm snuffs out lights on Saanich’s Ten Mile Point

Environment Canada wind warning calls for a brief “respite” before winds of up 90 kilometres resume

Sidney fire fighters get their first truck back

After years of neglect, the truck is running just fine

Sidney’s taxes going up this year

Town calls increase “modest,” represent a $34/year jump for the average household

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

VIDEO: Protesters rally for affordable housing ahead of B.C. budget

Residents call on province to keep locals housed

School shooting unfathomable to Saanich student

Claremont Grade 10 student reflects on the carnage inflicted on U.S. schools

#Metoo movement causing confusion in many men, fear of missteps with women: experts

Being painted by the same sweeping brush as those alleged to have mistreated women has angered men

Liberals to dig deeper, aim higher on gender equality in 2018 federal budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the budget would include measures to boost women in the workforce

Vancouver Island’s Teal Harle finishes fifth in Olympic Men’s Slopestyle skiing

‘I’ve definitely surpassed every expectation I had for the Games’ – Harle

Body of missing skier found

Man’s truck found in Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s parking lot covered in ‘several days’ snow’

Most Read