Community

Doing good with a hood

From left: Langley’s Riley Paterson,  Chloe Chapman, Jeff Belanger and Rochelle Noren, are collecting  unwanted hoodies and other warm winter clothes to distribute in the Downtown Eastside this winter.  - Miranda GATHERCOLE/Langley Times
From left: Langley’s Riley Paterson, Chloe Chapman, Jeff Belanger and Rochelle Noren, are collecting unwanted hoodies and other warm winter clothes to distribute in the Downtown Eastside this winter.
— image credit: Miranda GATHERCOLE/Langley Times

Last winter, as Riley Paterson was cleaning out his closet, he couldn’t believe how much clothing he was throwing away.

Then it struck him: There must be people who could use what he not longer wore.

“I thought that some less fortunate people downtown would love to have the clothes, especially hoodies, in those bags,” he said. He contacted some friends to see if they had any old warm clothes they wanted to donate. The word started to spread and in two months Paterson had collected about 1,000 hoodies.

For someone who likes to see people happy, it was the right thing to do.

“I feel that I am so blessed with the life I live, and enjoy doing little things for others that might brighten their day or make their life a little bit better in some way,” Paterson said.

Giving up a few warm clothes can change the lives of the homeless, he reasoned, and perhaps even save a life during the cold winter months.

“After seeing the homeless react to the clothes given last year, it reassured me that I wanted to keep doing it each year and make it bigger than the year before,” he said.

Paterson and a few of friends have been posting flyers in local stores, and handing flyers in neighbourhoods. He has made a Facebook event where friends can add their friends to spread the word.

He and his friends arrange to pick up the hoodies, or have them dropped off at a convenient location.

Paterson will be taking donations until Dec. 20, and on Christmas Eve he and his friends will hand out the warm winter clothes to those who live on the streets, in alley doorways, or in substandard housing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The volunteers will also hand out sandwiches and coffee.

Anyone with hoodies to donate can call Paterson at 778-668-7715.

Paterson, 22, grew up in Asia where the standard of living opened his eyes to appreciate the small things in life.

After his family moved to B.C., he attended Walnut Grove Secondary School, and on graduating spent the next eight months in Australia and Fiji.

“That trip, once again opened my eyes to a different way of living and made me appreciate living here in Canada,” he said.

A pile driver, Paterson plans to stay in Langley until another opportunity for travel and adventure arises.

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