Cochrane's Family Community Support Services (FCSS) are gearing up for another successful Jacket Racket.

Looking for gently used winter gear, Annemarie Tocher, FCSS, Resource Centre Coordinator says as of Thursday (October 11) until Thursday, October 25th they will be accepting donations at a few different drop off locations. Safeway, Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and Area, Alliance Church, Parent Link Centre, and the FCSS office will all be ready to accept warm, winter wear for the entire family.

Created out of community need, Jacket Racket has been very successful over the years. In 2017, Jacket racket provided enough winter gear to clothe 91 children and 117 adults. While they do receive a great number of donations she says they do fall short in one particular category. "We have been short of children's items for a couple of years so we would really like to emphasize the need for all sizes of children's wear."

Accepting winter coats, boots, hats, snow pants, Halloween costumes, and other winter gear, Tocher says it is a great way to clear out the closet. "It is an opportunity for community members to recycle and reduce consumption of clothing items."

The only requirement when it comes to donations is to make sure items are clean and gently used. "Anything that is dirty or requires repairs we aren't able to accommodate and those items end up being thrown out. So it is really important people know that because we just don't have the capacity to launder or repair items."

The actual Jacket Racket exchange event will be held on the morning of October 27th, from 10 am until noon at the Alliance Church. Creating a fun, free 'shopping event' community members are invited to drop by the church with no need to register, pick up items they need, and know their privacy is ensured. "It is a community event and it is open to anyone who would like to come but we don't allow to media to come and take pictures of who's there. Having said that, it is an event that is meant to provide items to families and adults who live with lower incomes."

On the morning of the Jacket Racket event, Parent Link staff will be on site offering children activities and a DeeJay will be pumping out tunes. "It is really orientated to families and we design it to be a fun event. We want people to know if they come there will be a Halloween theme to it and some fun things to do."

A final note, Tocher says this event would not be possible without amazing community support. "We are always overwhelmed by the number and quality of donations. We could not do this without community participation and generosity."

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