With colder weather upon us – and plenty more on its way – a drive-thru food-donation program that’s been operating out of the Mount Olive Lutheran Church parking lot in South Surrey since May is expanding its focus.
Patricia Mulvaney said she’s now also welcoming donations of “clean and bagged clothing/weather-helpful items” during her Tuesday-morning efforts.
Initially, wish-list items – all of which go to support Surrey’s most vulnerable, through the Whalley-based Surrey Urban Mission Society – included take-out containers, juice boxes, granola bars and the like.
Demand for those items continues, Mulvaney noted last week (Oct. 22). But now, things like boots, jackets, toques, rain ponchos and items that can be layered for warmth are sought as well.
The evolution began rather naturally, and continued even after Mulvaney advised friends and other donors that she wouldn’t be at her usual post on Oct. 20 due to election activities.
“Because the church is a polling station, I wasn’t allowed to be in the parking lot,” she explained.
“Other people called me anyway and they had stuff, so I did make a trip up there (to SUMS) on (that) Tuesday.
“I just drove around, I went out to Cloverdale, picked up a bunch of stuff that a friend from Coquitlam had brought me – clothing and all kinds of stuff. That was good.”
Mulvaney said while food donations have dwindled somewhat in the past month, pandemic closet-clearing has been a boon for the clothing component of her quest.
“I think people are taken away with this – everything – the second wave, and the election and all kinds of things like that, distractions,” she said. “But we’ve been getting more clothing now that’s sort of winter. People have sort of been through all their stuff through COVID. They’ve been culling and now they’re looking at their winter things and saying, ‘Oh, I don’t need that.’
“It’s been great,” she continued. “The other day there were brand-name, down-filled jackets that have only been worn a couple of times.”
Mulvaney launched the drive-thru effort to help support SUMS’ bagged-meal program, which was being distributed via a take-out window at the society’s Whalley office.
With hot meals now being cooked off-site three times a day and delivered to SUMS’ three 24/7 shelters, the food-donation wish list has also expanded, she said.
Goods including eggs, potatoes, fresh vegetables, milk and large packages of sugar and flour are welcome, while financial contributions are a mainstay, she added.
Mulvaney plans to continue at her drive-thru post at Mount Olive Lutheran Church (2350 148 St.) – every Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. till 12:30 p.m. – for as long as the need is there.
“That’s my Tuesday,” she said. “I don’t see that changing.”
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