Islanders collect truckloads of donations for Community Outreach Centre

Courtney Crosby has collected several truckloads of clothing and thousands in monetary donations for the Community Outreach Centre in Charlottetown.

'I hope that it tells them that they are important. They are worthy. They mean a lot to us'

Jennifer Platts-Fanning and Courtney Crosby have been collecting donations of clothing, money and gift cards for clients at the Community Outreach Centre in Charlottetown. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Courtney Crosby wanted to find a way to give back and raise awareness of homelessness in P.E.I., so she put out a call on social media.

She hoped to collect donations for the Community Outreach Centre in Charlottetown.

"It quickly took off and the donations, even the monetary donations, kept coming in and I was blown away right from the beginning," she said. 

Crosby said that she collected thousands of dollars in monetary donations, hundreds of dollars in gift cards and multiple vehicle loads of clothing. 

The idea came after Crosby read an article about a tunnel near the Hillsborough Bridge that was filled in by the city of Charlottetown.

Officials with the city said the tunnel posed a risk to the public as some people were using it as a place to inject drugs. City officials said there was a mattress inside, indicating the tunnel was used as a shelter.

Crosby said that made her want to help Islanders struggling with homelessness. 

"I didn't know much about the crisis that we had with homelessness here," she said. "So I want to make awareness of that."

The original plan was to deliver all of the donations collected over the past week to the outreach centre on Saturday, but that became impossible with the amount of donated material.

"My friend, Jennifer, and I have filled our cars multiple times, so we've had no choice but to … drop off before the big day today," she said. 

The bed of the pickup truck borrowed by Crosby was filled within the first half hour on Saturday. Three other vehicles were also filled to the brim. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Jennifer Platts-Fanning, also inspired by the article, put out a call for donations on social media earlier this week as well.

She said she was shocked by how much people were willing to give. 

"I would go to some people's homes and they'd have … three or four bags for me," she said. Some gave boxes of dishes, she said, and some offered brand new gloves and socks.

On Saturday, Crosby accepted curbside donations near the tunnel filled in by the city. The three vehicles she brought were filled almost immediately, leaving Crosby and others involved to start stacking some donations on the ground. 

"It's not me, it's the Island," she said. "I'm using my voice. I wasn't in a position to help financially. I just knew that I could use my voice to try and bring awareness."

'They're not forgotten'

Crosby hopes there is a message for those who receive the donations.  

Alan Hicken, supervisor of the outreach centre, says the donations will go a long way. (Submitted by Alan Hicken)

"I hope that it tells them that they are important," she said. "They are worthy. They mean a lot to us as a community and that they're not forgotten by Islanders."

Staff at the outreach centre say the donations will go a long way. 

"Most of our clients that are homeless basically walk in with the clothes [on] their back," said Alan Hicken, supervisor at the outreach centre.

The centre doesn't normally have much clothing on hand for clients, Hicken said. Clients are normally advised to go to other non-profit groups in Charlottetown. 

Now, the centre has two storage rooms filled with clothing. Hicken said the centre will distribute some of the bounty to other groups across the Island.

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