Winter is still two months away, but in Prince George, winter weather never waits for the official change of season.
Remember 1992, when the mercury dipped to -30 C at Halloween?
There's no guarantee that early deep freeze won't happen again and Richard Heighington knows not everyone in the city has a coat warm enough to bear the brunt of it. He's reminded of the need every year when he drives downtown and sees people walking through the snow dressed like it was summer.
For 18 years, the owner of Spotless Ecofriendly Drycleaners and Laundromats has organized the Coats For Kids campaign and he's hoping people will fill the bins at his three Prince George stores with winter wear. Coats, boots, tuques and gloves will be collected for immediate distribution at the Prince George Native Friendship Centre, Elizabeth Fry Society, and Active Support Against Poverty.
"We collect them and clean them and give them to people, we don't sell them or give them to people that sell them, we give them directly to those people who need them," said Heighington.
"We'll take any winter wear."
Since he started the Coats For Kids program in 1994, Heighington figures Spotless has collected more than 10,000 coats. Having started the collections a month earlier than last year, he's hoping the public will respond and put 1,000 coats on some grateful shoulders this year.
"A lot of the jackets we do get are brand-new and have never been used, people just don't use them," said Heighington. "They all get used, and it's not just kids jackets we collect, it's all sizes."
Collection boxes will be set up at all Spotless stores, located at 3121 15th Ave., 2030 Fifth Ave., and 1699 Spruce St.