Clothes Encounters event creates connections, helps those in need
Deron Hamel

Through a collaborative effort called Clothes Encounters, posAbilities’ Aegis West Day Program and the New Westminster Salvation Army recently created community connections that brought together families of mixed incomes and ensured anyone needing extra clothes this winter would have them.

Held at the New Westminster Salvation Army and aimed primarily at bringing together people in the neighbourhood who would likely not meet otherwise, the social event also encouraged everyone to “declutter” their closets by donating extra clothes for those in need.

A market atmosphere where the clothing was displayed was set up at the New Westminster Salvation Army’s 325 Sixth Street location, which is next door to Aegis West’s office.

For its part, Aegis West created leaflets for the event and volunteers picked up clothing from people in the neighbourhood where the event was advertised.

The neighbourhood has families of a various incomes, and because of socioeconomic factors many would likely never meet each other. Hosting events like this creates an inclusive spirit and is a step towards ensuring a stronger community, says Amy Chang of Aegis West.

“We were trying to create a venue where people could come and get free clothing but also meet other people in their community, which is why we called (the event) Clothes Encounters,” Amy says.
The Sept. 13 event was successful in its mission, she adds.

“We had bags upon bags upon bags of clothing donated, and we had a turnout of over 160 families,” Amy says.

This was the first time an event of this nature was organized by Aegis West but it won’t be the last. Plans are now in the works for a second Clothes Encounters event for spring 2014.

“If that is also a success, we would like to turn it into a biannual event every spring and fall,” Amy says.

The Aegis West Day Program is part of posAbilities and is largely focused on creating community inclusion.

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