A Fraser Valley charitable society will be in Chilliwack on Jan. 25 handing out free clothes and other items to those in need.
Clothes2U is a registered non-profit society that provides clothing, toys, linens, diapers, books, footwear, personal items, and small household goods free to less fortunate children and adults.
It was started by Ernie Jantzen of Aldergrove back in 2002 as a single-parent support group.
The first clothing giveaway was held in the parking lot of Nicomekl Elementary School in Langley in partnership with Home Church Langley who meet there Sunday mornings.
He had no plans on expanding after the first one, but then saw the need.
“I realized there was a need for this, and not just in Langley but all over,” Jantzen said.
That’s when Clothes2U was born. Jantzen collects items throughout the year and keeps them in storage sheds on his own property.
Last year, Clothes2U held nine giveaway events in Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford in schools and churches. This will be the first giveaway in Chilliwack in about six or seven years.
“It’s so satisfying to know that you’ve helped people,” he said. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t feel good about it.”
He recalls a woman who one day became the primary caregiver for a family member’s baby. She needed baby supplies right away and called on Jantzen more than once in a short period of time for help. Each time, he opened his storage sheds and gave her what she needed. That following summer, she showed up again – this time with a box of blueberries to say thank you.
“You never know who you’re going to help,” Jantzen said.
The Winter Giveaway event is in Chilliwack on Saturday, Jan. 25 at Cooke’s Presbyterian Church (45825 Wellington Ave.) from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Volunteers from Clothes2U will be limiting and monitoring items that people take, in order to ensure a fair distribution.
Admission is $2 at the door, kids 11 and under are admitted free. People are encouraged to bring their own bags.
Clothes2U giveaways have been held all over the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. Jantzen is currently looking for a venue in Mission so he can hold a giveaway there.
To volunteer or for more info, go to clothes2u.ca or call 604-857-4617. Those who volunteer will get first pick at the event.