‘Warmth can save lives’: Winter coat donation keeps Peterborough homeless warm

Winter coat donation for Peterborough homeless

Toronto-based philanthropists donate more than 80 winter coats to One City Peterborough

Peterborough’s most vulnerable are a little warmer today thanks to a donation of winter coats from a pair of Toronto-based philanthropists and business partners.

On Tuesday (Feb. 1), Suganthan Vishnu Krisnarajah and his business partner Shams Syed, founders of AptPay, made the donation of more than 80 winter coats to One City Peterborough.

“We are incredibly grateful for these coats that have been donated to One City’s Outreach Program. It has been a very difficult winter for a lot of members in our community this winter, and having a good coat is one of the most necessary items for folks sleeping outside,” said Luke Shauf, fundraising and communications co-ordinator with One City Peterborough.

Krisnarajah and Syed decided to make the donation due to their connection to Peterborough, namely through the massive North Face Rally supercar toy drive held annually in partnership with Brinks in Peterborough. They included Peterborough in the toy drive based on their relationship with retired Peterborough County OPP officer Dave McNab.

In 2016, before his retirement, McNab pulled members of the North Face Rally over for a traffic stop on Lansdowne Street in Peterborough. A video of the encounter, titled “The Nicest Cop You’ll Ever See,” went viral. That connection led McNab and Krisnarajah, also known as Ghostrider, to organize a Christmas toy drive with North Face Rally.

Most recently, McNab teamed up with the group to participate in a Canada-wide Lamborghini tour to raise money for a five-year-old cancer survivor.

This week, Krisnarajah and Syed, along with other employees from their business AptPay, handed out nearly 1,000 coats and snowsuits at Toronto shelters and community outreach programs.

After, they decided to also make a donation of coats to One City Peterborough after hearing of the work it does in the community.

“AptPay has a strong sense of responsibility to community and a desire to take care of our most vulnerable residents,” said McNab, in an email to Peterborough This Week. “With more than a dozen employees and volunteers taking part, hundreds of people without homes were given a new and properly fitted coat.”

In total, more than 80 adult coats were donated to One City along with 12 kids snowsuits that will be donated to the New Canadians Centre or other organizations in Peterborough.

“The need for warm clothing here is critical,” said McNab. “We are fortunate to have organizations like One City Peterborough. They provide a great deal of support and solutions for those in need.”

Shauf said One City has seen a “shocking” amount of people who are experiencing homelessness accessing the organization’s overnight warming room, which is part of the United Way of Peterborough & District’s Emergency Winter Response to Homelessness Initiative.

“In this season, warmth can save lives. Any donated item such as these coats has been quick to go back out of our doors and into the hands of a community member who really needs it. We very much appreciate receiving this donation and other donations such as this,” said Shauf.

McNab said AptPay would like to do more to help those in need and are appealing to people to contribute to their crowdfunding to make that possible through a GoFundMe campaign.