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Community steps up for Operation Warmth

The North Bay community has stepped up to continue Operation Warmth.

The donation drive which encourages donations of winter clothing is normally held at Redeemer Lutheran Church. After 24 years of facilitating the donation drive, the church was unable to host it this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since that news came out, North Bay’s social services stepped up to fill the gap, with another local church offering to help out as well.

Crisis Centre North Bay, Nipissing Mental Health Housing & Support Services (NMHHSS) and Low Income People Involvement of Nipissing (LIPI) announced on Thursday that they have partnered with the store Rebuilt Resources to continue the winter clothing drive.

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Chrisy Wyness, Program Manager for NMHHSS, says that it was important to continue the tradition of Operation Warmth during the pandemic.

“Folks are in a precarious situation financially and we just want to collaboratively ensure that folks are getting those winter items they may need,” Wyness said.

Wyness says that his and the other social services understand the importance of Operation Warmth to their clients and quickly collaborated to keep it running.

This year’s Operation Warmth has also seen another church step up, with Lakeshore Missionary Church offering its services to help out in the effort.

Justin Fotheringham, a Pastor with Lakeshore Missionary says that it was an easy decision for his church to chip in.

“That’s what the church is. The church shouldn’t just be coming to a building and praising God. We also want to go out into the community and touch lives. If it can save lives then it’s so much better. I want to be a part of that for sure,” Fotheringham noted.

As a result of the Lakeshore church and the social service’s collaboration, donations for winter clothing are being accepted at two locations:

  • Rebuilt Resources at 1356 Regina St.,
  • Lakeshore Missionary Church at 656 Lakeshore Dr

Fotheringham says that the outpouring of entities willing to continue Operation Warmth is indicative of the city’s spirit.

“I think that as a community-driven event, that becomes the heart of North Bay,” he said. “We didn’t want people to think that we’re taking over. It’s not just a Lakeshore thing either. It’s just seeing the city come together and churches being involved with that as part of the city – that’s my favourite part of the whole thing.”

Lakeshore Missionary will serve as a storage facility for Operation Warmth, with clothes being transported from the church to another location for which the details are still being finalized.

Rebuilt Resources will be taking in and redistributing the winter clothes with donations being accepted during store hours.

Both locations encourage donations of gently used, clean winter clothing throughout the winter to be given to people who need them.

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