Calgary REALTOR® Matthew Morley founded the annual Coats for Calgary jacket drive, which is now in its seventh year. Cody Stuart / CREB®Now

Giving from the heart

Coat drive fulfills local REALTOR®’s passion for community involvement

For Calgary REALTOR® Mathew Morley, the desire to help provide the necessities of life goes beyond his day job helping people buy and sell houses.

Taking the holiday spirit to heart, Morley is the founder and organizer of Coats for Calgary. Now in its seventh year, the annual drive collects jackets for Calgarians in need of warmth during the winter months.

The idea to help at-risk Calgarians keep warm stems from Morley’s past. Prior to pursuing a career in real estate, Morley aspired to become a firefighter. However, that dream was dashed by the discovery of a chronic heart problem.

Instead, Morley decided to channel his passion for community involvement into volunteering.

“I wanted to continue being involved in the community – having a little more involvement, giving back and pitching in, and helping out the best that I could,” said Morley.

“I was volunteering at the Calgary Food Bank and realized that there was a need beyond food.” – Matthew Morley, Calgary REALTOR®

“I was volunteering at the Calgary Food Bank and realized that there was a need beyond food. People were coming in without coats in the middle of winter, so I thought what better way to tap into my database then to start an initiative for people collecting coats for people that are less fortunate.”

Having gathered more than 5,000 jackets in the last two years, Morley has lofty goals for this year’s drive. With 35 drop box locations across the city, Morley says the aim is to take in 5,000 additional coats this year alone.

The higher collection goal, says Morley, is needed to match the increased demand for coats created by Calgary’s struggling economy. The Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre – the destination for all the jackets collected during the campaign – is open 365 days a year, twenty-four hours a day, providing shelter for more than 1,000 people every night, serving approximately 3,000 meals a day and offering emergency services to more than 20,000 Calgarians each year.

“The unfortunate thing that has happened in the economy is the need at the Drop-In Centre,” said Morley. “This year, the need has increased to 6,000 coats. Our goal was 5,000 to begin with, so you know we’re kind of chasing that number.”

For more information on Coats for Calgary and the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre, including how to donate and drop-off locations, visit coatsforcalgary.ca.

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