Brampton - During the holidays many people are fortunate enough to
spend time and money with their loved ones. Many others aren’t so lucky.
It’s during this time of year that people open their hearts,
wallets and homes to give back. At Osler many of our staff give back year
round. In January 2013 the staff of Mental Health Gen B Unit came up with an
idea to give back to patients in need.
The Community Closet began with one bin. Nurses began to
bring in used clothing from home. The idea was born out of a simple gesture,
when clinical staff member, Lynden Cowan brought an extra coat from home for a
patient whose winter clothing consisted of two sweaters. The patient was
stunned and thrilled that someone was thinking of him.
Since then the bin has expanded to an actual closet.
“All areas of the hospital have accessed the Community
Closet at some point,” says Cowan. “From patients in the ED whose clothing has
been cut off, to someone brought in from a fire when their clothing was
destroyed, to someone being discharged from the ICU back to the street.”
“Some are homeless while others live on a disability program
that leaves about $100.00 month after rent to cover food, transportation and
clothing. A simple T-shirt is out of reach for their budget,” Cowan explains.
Nurses at Osler accept any adult clothing that is in good
shape, with no stains or tears. Shoes and boots are welcome donations as
sometimes patients come in with shoes filled with duct tape or toilet paper to
fill the holes in the bottom. They also welcome back packs and weather-related
items like mitts, hats and scarves. And new socks, underwear and bras are
always on high demand.
For anyone wishing to donate some of these items they can
visit Gen B, on the first level of Brampton Civic by entrance A and the Rose