London·SOUNDS OF THE SEASON

Coat drive a way for teens to give back to less fortunate

As Jenna Goldsack walks to her downtown school, she sees what many other Londoners do: people shivering in the cold, without hats or mitts or a proper winter coat. Goldsack, a Grade 11 student at Catholic Central High School, is one of several social justice club students who are helping by collecting donations of winter wear to donate to those in need.

The coat drive brings in as many as 1,000 items annually, given out to nine different agencies

Catholic Central High School students (back row) Jenna Goldsack, Maria Zangari and Shammy Khamo, and (front row) Vanessa Kamandali, Paige Howlett and Mareb Sabu, help sort winter wear donations. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

As Jenna Goldsack walks to her downtown school, she sees what many other Londoners do: people shivering in the cold, without hats or mitts or a proper winter coat. 

Goldsack, a Grade 11 student at Catholic Central High School, is one of several social justice club students who are helping by collecting donations of winter wear to donate to those in need. 

"With my school being downtown, I see a lot of homeless people. It's really sad to see that they don't have something as basic as a winter coat for the winter," Goldsack said. 

The 16-year-old has brought donations to CCH for the 17th annual coat drive. It's a partnership with the London Fire Department. 

Winter gear, including hats, mitts, scarves, coats and snow pants are collected at fire halls across the city. Items are picked up by teachers and brought to the high school atrium, where students make sure they're in good condition and sort them by gender and size. 

"Every since I was young, I've had a passion for social justice and helping people," said Maria Zangari, 15, who is also helping. 
Winter wear at Catholic Central High School, ready to be donated. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

"Especially during the Christmas season, I think we should give what we can for those who are in need."

After being sorted, the winter items are given out to nine different agencies, including St. Vincent de Paul, My Sister's Place and the Men's Mission. 

The coat drive gets between 500 and 1,000 coats every year. Donations can be dropped off at any fire hall in the city or at the high school, located at 450 Dundas Street.