posted on May 16: McMaster’s student outreach clinic wants your winter clothes


[img_inline align=”right” src=”” caption=”Melinda Gillies, Bruno”]Don't put those winter clothes away just yet.

MacSOC or the McMaster Student Outreach Clinic initiative has launched its first annual summer “WINTER” clothing drive.

Nursing student Melinda Gillies is MacSoc's clothing co-ordinator. She came up with the idea of a winter clothing drive in the summer months after organizing a successful clothing drive last December.

Although the drive was hugely successful with the McMaster community donating 4,000 pounds of clothing, Gillies found sorting the material required the hours of a full-time job. Juggling her volunteer work with her studies was demanding. Getting a head start on the process during the summer made sense.

“I thought if we did it during the summer, people could sort their stuff while changing their closets over from winter to summer and we would have a big stockpile for the fall,” said Gillies, who is entering Level IV nursing and is studying for a minor in indigenous studies.

“I didn't want to get caught in the fall without a good reserve of clothing. Our name is out there on the street. We go through 20 pairs of mitts and gloves in a night. That's a lot to keep up with.”

The drop-off point is the Health Sciences bookstore (known as in the Health Sciences Centre. Items required include winter coats, mitts, hats, gloves, scarves, winter boots, blankets and sleeping bags.

Gillies sorts and stores the clothing in her former landlord's garage but she would love to find a place on campus.

Last year more than 120 volunteers — students and faculty mainly from nursing but also medicine, midwifery and occupational therapy and physiotherapy — visited three areas in downtown Hamilton on Wednesday nights delivering clothing and food to homeless people.

MacSOC members anticipate interest in helping the homeless will be strong again when the bulk of students return to campus in September.

WINTER STORAGE: Melinda Gillies and Bruno survey the inventory of clothing now stored for use this fall when MacSOC's homeless initiative restarts.

Photo: Shelly Easton