Frigid winter increasing demand for winter survival items

Project Winter Survival looking for donations for their kits

It's been a tough winter for most of us but it's been especially hard for people living on the streets. That's got organizations like Engage and Change struggling to keep up with an increased demand.

Engage and Change leads an initiative known as Project Winter Survival. It prepares kits for the city's homeless and gives them some tools to weather the winter months.

"The kit has just over 30 items this year," says founder Jody Steinhauer. "A sleeping bag, a warm toque, gloves socks, a whole array of hygiene products including lip balm and a face cloth."

It also includes bottled water and healthy snacks.

The kits are handed out to social service agencies across the GTA, places like homeless shelters and outreach providers like the Red Cross.

The initiative has been around for 15 years and Steinhauer says the number of kits being requested has increased every year. But this winter, they've been asked for over 12,000 kits, a difference of 10 per cent over last year.

"I think that has a lot to do with the frigid winter conditions that we've experienced this year," Steinhauer says.

They've prepared 3,000 kits and next Saturday, they'll be distributing them to 195 facilities.

"They'll be getting them out to their clients over the next couple of months," she says.

"They have to last all winter, but because the temperatures got way colder, way quicker this year, there's big issues. We desperately need more help because we're not anywhere able to meet the demand." 

Anyone who wants to make a cash or other donation, visit


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