Warmth from HQ in Depth of Winter

In a conversation with Duty Desk Operator Gary Long nearly a decade ago about the cold weather in the city, Const. Joanne Tawton indicated that The Scott Mission was in desperate need of winter coats.

She was very familiar with the charitable organization that provides services to poor, homeless and vulnerable people, having worked in 14 Division.

“As a cop working on the street, I saw people that weren’t dressed appropriately for the cold weather,” said Tawton.

The Toronto Police members started a coat drive that has evolved over the years.

“The first year we started with employees by asking them to clear out their closets,” said Long. “The response was overwhelming as we got scarves, gloves and other winter clothing.”

The clothing is collected over a 4-5 week period in December and January and, with the assistance of members from the Talent Acquisition unit – is sorted and loaded onto trucks for distribution.

Among the organizations that benefited this year are The Scott Mission, Covenant House Toronto and the Salvation Army.

A group of people standing behind garbage bags
A collection of men's, women's and children's clothing was collected in the lobby of headquarters Photo: Kevin Masterman
A group of people holding coats
Officers helped sort and pack donations Photo: Victor Kwong

Covenant House Toronto Associate Manager Micheal Sheiner thanked Tawton and Long for providing the clothes.

“We serve youth with all immediate needs and have the widest variety of services of any youth shelter in Canada,” of the drop-in centre that allows youth to get something to eat, have a shower, pick up clothes and talk to social workers. The shelter serves over 350 youth each day and relies on fundraising for 80% of their annual operating costs.

He said the partnership with the Toronto Police Service ranges from supporting the shelter to working with youth who have been victim of human trafficking.

“The police are very important partners in everything we do,” Sheiner said.

A group of people by a van
Station Operator Gary Long (in van) and Constable Joanne Tawton greeted by Covenant House staff Photo: Kevin Masterman

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