Amherst Police want to cram a cruiser

Darrell Cole
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With food and clothing donations for Coats for Cumberland

The Amherst Police Department wants people to help it cram a cruiser with food and clothing donations for the food bank and Coats for Cumberland.

Charlotte Ferguson of the Empowering Beyond Barriers Society places a gently used jacket inside an Amherst Police cruiser while society members Betsy Prager, Colleen Dowe and Const. Tom Wood look on. The Cram a Cruiser event is set for Nov. 14 and 15 in Amherst.

AMHERST – Cont. Tom Wood wants to cram a police cruiser with winter clothing and food in support of Empowering Beyond Barriers and the Amherst food bank.

The Amherst Police Department’s community policing officer, who is a member of the Empowering Beyond Barriers Society, will be parking his police cruiser at several locations around town on Nov. 14 and 15 collecting clothing and monetary donations for Coats for Cumberland and non-perishable food items for the food bank.

“The department wants to assist with the Coats for Cumberland campaign as well as the food bank and we thought a good way to do this would be to ask people in Amherst to help fill a police cruiser with clothing and food,” Wood said.

On Nov. 14, Wood’s cruiser will be parked by Spring Street Academy from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., at West Highlands Elementary from 1 to 2 p.m. and at E.B. Chandler Junior High from 2:15 to 3 p.m.

“This provides an opportunity for children to be part of the program as well,” Wood said. “They can bring their gently used winter coats and non-perishable food items and help us cram the cruiser.”

On Nov. 14 from 5 to 8 p.m., the police cruiser will be parked in front of the Amherst Walmart, while on Nov. 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. it will be parked at the Amherst Centre Mall near Sobeys.

The Coats for Cumberland program is entering its fifth year with drop-off locations in Amherst at Sobeys, Atlantic Kia, Jim Hatheway Ford, Maggie’s Place and the Salvation Army.

On Nov. 22, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., the clothing that has been collected in Amherst will be distributed at the Amherst Centre Mall.

Wood said there’s a need for children’s clothing, especially sizes seven to 16, while there’s also a need for adult clothing – especially in the extra large and XXL sizes.

Clothing collected in River Hebert will be distributed at the United Church on Nov. 20 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. On Nov. 27, clothing will be distributed in Parrsboro at the fire hall from 1 to 5 p.m., while in Pugwash it will be distributed on the same day at the North Cumberland Memorial Hospital between 12:30 and 3 p.m.

Clothing will be distributed at the Chignecto Manor in Advocate Harbour on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Distribution locations in Springhill and Oxford will be announced soon.

Colleen Dowe of Empowering Beyond Barriers said the program is going well, although donations are down from other years.

“We’re thinking it could be the weather and the fact we really haven’t had a cold stretch yet,” Dowe said. “The temperature did get cooler this week so we’re hoping that will lead to more donations.”

Wood said he often talks to principals and teachers about what they need and he said they have noticed more children coming to school without proper clothing for the cooler weather.

He’s optimistic the community will respond to the campaign.

“Amherst has long shown itself to be a very generous community,” Wood said. “This town is very good to responding to the need of its people and I’m quite confident we’ll be able to the cram the cruiser. It would be nice if we could cram a couple of cruisers.”

Last year, more than 700 clothing items were donated.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Cumberland, Amherst Police Department, Empowering Beyond Barriers Society Sobeys Street Academy Salvation Army United Church North Cumberland Memorial Hospital

Geographic location: Amherst, River Hebert, Parrsboro Pugwash Advocate Harbour Springhill Oxford

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