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Charity faces funding cut


Red Deer Community Clothing Service is still on the hunt for funding to keep its doors open past spring.

The clothing service, formerly known as Red Deer Clothing Bank, will see its funding from the United Way of Central Alberta come to an end this month.

That funding has covered rental costs for its downtown location. In the future, the service will have to rely on savings.

“Right at the moment, if we don’t get any more donations, it looks like about May we will run out of what money we have,” said president Ted Hayden on Wednesday.

The longtime charity gives away clothing and household items for free, allowing customers to come in once a month. It serves about 1,100 people a month.

Hayden said the service recently applied for money from the Alberta Lottery Fund through Alberta Culture but won’t find out if they are successful until March or April.

In October, the service started charging clients a $5 fee, but the fee was quickly discontinued when the number of clients dropped by about half.

Hayden said the Coats for Kids campaign was underway at the time and he didn’t want children to go without coats because their family couldn’t afford to visit.

Some cash donations have come in but mostly its donations of clothes, he said.

“We are so blessed in this community with the support that we do get as far as donations of clothing. We’re overwhelmed, really.”

He said at this time of year, some people go through their closets to make room for new clothes. Some get rid of summer clothes they don’t want to pack away.

“Most times we don’t know what’s in the bags. We don’t have X-ray vision so we can’t tell what’s there. But we’re grateful for whatever we get.”

The service hangs on to summer items until they are needed.

Hayden said twin sheets are in short supply now.

Holiday decorations are often included among donations that show up after Christmas. They will be stored for Christmas 2014.

This month, decorations have been given away to spread some Christmas cheer.

Trinkets and some higher-end clothing is sold at the front desk to help raise money for operational costs.

Red Deer Community Clothing Service, at 5005 Ross St., is open Tuesday to Thursday from noon to 4 p.m.

The service will be closed after today for the next two weeks for Christmas and will reopen on Jan. 7.

szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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