PEI

The clothes are free at this new store

People in need in Summerside, P.E.I. have a new place to turn to for help.

Belinda Woods hopes to keep her free store operating year-round

Belinda Woods in her free clothing store in Summerside. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

People in need in Summerside, P.E.I. have a new place to turn to for help.

Belinda Woods has opened a free store in the basement of the National Bank on Water Street. It offers clothing for anyone who needs it.

"I've been on my own since I was 14 so I really know what it's like not to have anything and not even to be able to afford second hand," said Woods.

"I believe that those people still exist."

Store can be opened in private

Woods works full time, but has set up the store in her own time.

The clothes come from community donations, with a big boost from Twice Loved Clothing, a second hand shop that recently closed down.

"There's still people falling through the cracks," said Woods.

"They may the working poor that don't quite qualify for social assistance, and there'd people that don't want to admit that they're in those kind of circumstances and for those I will open the store privately."

People from 'all different walks of life'

Norma McColeman, a city councillor and a family violence prevention outreach coordinator, agrees there is a need.

"More and more we are seeing people that are working several part-time jobs just in order to make ends meet," Said McColeman.

Norma McColeman sees the need for the new store both in her work and her volunteer life. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

"Sometimes I volunteer in a soup kitchen and I see a lot of people from all different areas and all different walks of life."

The shop has been busy, said Woods with at least 100 people stopping by in just two days.

Woods opened a similar shop during the holiday season last year, but she hopes she will be able to continue with this shop throughout the year, opening it about once a month.

People looking to donate clothing, or who are looking for Woods to open up the store for them, can contact her on Facebook.

With files from Krystalle Ramlakhan

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