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Culture of caring at Windsor Park Church

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The women at Windsor Park United Church are accustomed to being asked for and providing help.


So when the call came asking if they could deal with a huge donation of kids’ clothing — some 30 large garbage bags packed full with hoodies, jackets, sweatpants, shirts and shoes — they didn’t hesitate.


Their response: Of course we can.


According to Patrick Woodbeck, associate minister at the church, a group of dedicated women at Windsor Park spent the first week or so of August "sorting and folding and bagging and delivering clothes" to numerous youth and family centres around Winnipeg.


Margo Baldwin was among them.


"We washed it all at home and then brought it back and sorted through it," she recalls. "There must have been 15 women who took home loads of washing."


Woodbeck said anything in poor condition had to be tossed out but "by the time they were done, we had about two dozen garbage bags of clean stuff."


"What surprised me was how quickly they did it. I’m thinking OK, we’re going to get this stuff at the beginning of August and then we’ll probably have it all cleaned and sorted so that everything’s ready to go out by the end of August," he said. "But by the middle of the second week, almost everything was gone."


Woodbeck attributes this ‘can do’ attitude to a "culture of caring" that exists at Windsor Park.


"For me, this is indicative of what people here do," he said. "When there’s a need, they always rise to that challenge. There’s never a question of can we do this? It’s just OK, now how do we do this?"


The clothing’s donor wishes to remain anonymous, Woodbeck said, adding that a lot of kids from age seven up to older teens will benefit from the hefty donation.


Bags of clothing have already been delivered to Resource Assistance for Youth, West Broadway Youth Outreach, West Central Women’s Resource Centre and the Andrews Street Family Centre.


"When I phoned them to ask if they could use the clothes, they were all very excited," Woodbeck said.


He plans to take the last six bags this week to Rossbrook House, a North End-based drop-in centre for kids and youth which didn’t have room to store the clothing until now.


The delivery includes some basketball shoes, which is welcome news to Sister Maria Vigna, co-executive director at Rossbrook.


"We have a great little league and it’s just always so great to have extra shoes on hand," she said.


Vigna adds that Rossbrook House is thankful to have friends like the folks at Windsor Park United.


"There are people on the front line here who deal with the kids every day but none of it would be possible without some solid support from a lot of the people in the city," she said.


"Windsor Park United has been a strong supporter of Rossbrook House."

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