Keeping warm this winter

Columbia Sportswear and Heeman’s team up to help St. Joseph’s patients in the Mental Health Care Program with a large donation of winter coats
St. Joseph's patients and Will Heeman showcasing the newly donated Columbia jackets
Will Heeman and Natalie Legary (pictured in the middle) show off the winter coats donated by Heeman's and Columbia Sportswear to the Mental Health Care program. They were joined by patients and staff who were thankful for the generous donation.

When Columbia Sportswear and Heeman’s learned of the increased need for winter coats at St. Joseph’s Mental Health Care Program, they didn’t hesitate.

181 warm winter coats were donated to help patients this winter who come to the program with only the clothes on their backs. 

“This is overwhelming,” says Mary Ann Linley, Director of Inpatient Programs at the Finch Family Mental Health Care Building. “We put that number forward because it represents the true needs of our patients. It was a huge ask and we did not expect them to meet it.”

Last year, Columbia donated 23 coats to patients in the mental health care program. With the request this year almost nine times that amount, Columbia donated 90 coats and offered a deep discount on the remaining 91 coats. Heeman’s then stepped in with a financial donation to offset the cost of the coats as part of this year’s Season of Celebration campaign.

“Columbia Sportswear Canada is proud to donate to St. Joseph’s alongside Heeman’s,” says Natalie Legary, Human Resources Director with Columbia. “I feel grateful that we can do a little for St. Joseph’s who does so much for so many.”

For Will Heeman, a board member at St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation, the donation felt like the right thing to do.

“To be able to make an impact and put a warm jacket on someone who may have nothing, why wouldn’t you do that?” Will says. “It’s Canada. Winters are cold, we just needed to help out.”  

Mary Ann says some patients with mental health or substance abuse issues are vulnerable and live in poverty or are homeless. With cold, freezing temperatures around the corner, members of the Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACT), will go out and see patients where they are – on the streets, living under a bridge or in a shelter. These are some of the patients who will receive a warm winter coat.

“We are immensely grateful to both Columbia and Heeman’s for this donation that will make this winter a bit more bearable for patients and people living in poverty,” says Mary Ann. “They have been very strong partners with St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation and I think it really speaks to St. Joseph’s as an anchor organization in our community and our role in supporting our community as a hospital.”

Back to all Stories