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Calgary apparel company donating winter coats to those in need


A local apparel company is helping keep Calgarians warm by donating winter coats to people who need them in the community.

Jordan Britton came up with an idea on how to keep people warm in Calgary's cold winter months after spending five years working at Wood's Homes. He founded the Warm Social Co.

"We are an apparel company that specializes in winter coats," he said. "We bring winter coats to people in need, so every time a coat is purchased, then that same equal coat is matched in donation to somebody in need in our city."

With his experience in social work, he knows the funding challenges agencies face on a daily basis.

"One of the biggest problems is not having resources and getting funds cut every year," said Britton. "Having enough resources is super critical and this is a way that we're able to address a problem and now people get to be a part of the solution."

Britton's business is online and has a selection of jackets, toques, fleece and tee shirts. The coats are durable with a market price of $350.

"It's kind of like putting on a duvet that's made just for you, they're rated to up to minus 30 degrees comfortably," he said.

"We know that feeling of how much it sucks sometimes when you step out into the cold and it feels like you're walking into a freezer, so we want to eliminate some of that battle and these coats are how we're doing it."

Wood's Homes is an agency that provides treatment and support for clients aged 15 to 29.

Mischa Nagtalon, the program supervisor at the Inglewood Opportunity Hub, said clients are typically experiencing homelessness, trauma and mental health challenges.

"We're always looking to serve our communities, so during the winter months from December to March we turn into a warming center," she said.

"Last year we served over 900 individuals in the warming centre and on outreach alone, we were reaching close to 2,000 points of contact."

Nagtalon sees clients who don't have enough clothing to keep them warm when the temperature drops and then they're at risk of hypothermia and frostbite.

She points to the Calgary Homeless Foundation's 2022 report where over 239 people died from living on the streets of Calgary.

"This donation from Warm Co. today is going to save lives," she said. "And I do mean that right, just really emphasizing that staying warm when it's minus 30 outside, when it's minus 20 outside is probably one of the most difficult challenges."

Robert Welsh has faced many challenges in his life and appreciates everything the programs at Wood's Homes have done for him.

"I live in low-income housing at the moment but it's with my mom and life has been tough but we've managed to get through," he says. "Since coming here, it's been a good help, I've gotten help with groceries and other things, it's been really nice."

Welsh says when it comes to purchasing a new winter coat for himself, rent and groceries always come first.

"At the moment my jackets have holes in them so I have to wear multiple layers to keep warm," he said. "A new jacket means I get to come here on the bus and be warm while doing it.”

Welsh is a peer leader in the kitchen at the Inglewood Opportunity Hub. He graduated from the program and now wants to enrol in SAIT's culinary program and is thankful for a new winter coat from Warm Co.

"Our mission is to eliminate winter 'coatlessness' in Calgary and I think that we're well on our way to do doing that," said Britton. "My favourite part far and away is bringing the coats to people who need them, we have a lot of experts in our city that are trying to address this problem too, so collaborating with them has been incredible."

Warm Social Co. has been in operation for a year and donated more than 100 coats. Learn more about it here: Top Stories

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