Serendipity Boutique is excited to announce a community project they’ve been working on – The Giving Tree. This winter season, Serendipity will have Winter coats available outside the store, set up on a rack between the beautiful trees on their front lawn. The coats will be available in a variety of sizes and styles, and will be free to those who need to keep warm.
Debbie Fortier, Executive Director for Maison Baldwin House, which is the non profit Women’s Shelter in Cornwall that is supported by Serendipity Boutique, explains more about the idea behind The Giving Tree. “Jackets in the store are $5 each, and we have an amazing selection for those who want to support the store by shopping, but not everyone who needs a warm jacket has that $5, or would be comfortable coming into the store to shop. We wanted to help ensure that we are keeping everyone in our community warm this winter, and we feel that providing this type of free option that is accessible to everyone, allows us to do so in a way that offers individuals dignity and anonymity.”
Built with the help of dedicated volunteers, and replenished with donations from the community, The Giving Tree will be a welcome addition to the community. The impact reaches beyond social responsibility, and the initiative will also aim to reduce textile waste in the community, by reducing the amount of winter coats that make it into the landfill. “Everyone has a coat that is missing a button, or has a tear in the liner, or a pocket zipper that doesn’t work”, explains Danielle MacNeil, Public Educator and Volunteer Coordinator for Maison Baldwin House, “and sometimes, rather than donating those items, people tend to throw them away, but those slightly imperfections won’t stop those coats from keeping people in our community warm.”
Donations will be accepted at Serendipity Boutique and sorted by volunteers, and they ask that donations be brought to the store or shelter, and not simply left on the outdoor rack. “We want to make sure that we are offering items that are appropriate to the weather”, says MacNeil, “and it also allows us to control the quality of the items being offered.”
The Boutique is proud to offer this initiative to the community, and encourages the city to support the project by donating coats to The Giving Tree. “100% of proceeds from Serendipity support the shelter,” says Fortier, “and by donating, and shopping at Serendipity, you are helping Maison Baldwin House, and you are making a difference to help abused women in your community.”
While some may worry about leaving items out for free being an invitation for theft or vandalism, Fortier and MacNeil aren’t worried. “There is so much positive that can come out of this project, and we choose to focus on those we can help, and those who will benefit,” says Fortier. “We don’t want to let the idea of an undesirable outcome stop us from even trying,” added MacNeil, “We believe in the goodness in our community, and we know that this project is worthwhile..”
Serendipity Boutique, located at 331 Second Street West, is currently open Wednesday to Friday from 9AM-2PM, and Saturday from 9AM-1PM. Donations can be dropped off at the store during these hours, or at Maison Baldwin House 24/7.