© Paul Hutchings
Gloria White, left, and Sheila LeRoux of the Co-operators in Deer Lake have been collecting clothing to donate to a Dominican Republic orphanage when they go to the Caribbean nation on Feb 25.
DEER LAKE — An orphanage in the Dominican Republic will receive some Deer Lake generosity at the end of this month.
Gloria White, owner and operator of the Co-operators in Deer Lake, won a trip to the tiny island nation through a sales incentive contest with the company.
As part of the trip, winners across the province are taking extra baggage filled with clothing for children under 16 at an orphanage near the resort.
White, along with sales associate Sheila LeRoux, has been accepting clothing at the Main Street office for most of the week and they’re already a little overwhelmed. The office almost looks like the nearby Salvation Army thrift store with clothing in neat piles on desks.
“You should have seen it yesterday before we could organize it,” quipped White as she folded a baby’s sweater.
“We only just started putting out the word that we were doing this and the donations started coming in almost right away. We’re really impressed.”
White said there’s a disconnect between what tourists see at the resorts and what’s really going on in Dominican neighbourhoods. Poverty is rampant, she said, and children are suffering the most. It was important for them to be able to give something back to the country they are visiting.
Holding up some baby clothes, White asked how someone could not want to help a person small enough to fit into the garment.
“I think we have a social obligation to do what we can to help, if we’re able,” she said. “We have to respect the people there. The kids can’t help the situation they were born in, but maybe we can.”
Each trip winner also donated money to purchase medical supplies and toiletries to fill backpacks, which will also be donated to the orphanage. Last year an orphanage in Mexico was assisted through the same sales incentive contest.
Anyone wishing to donate can bring their unwanted items of clothing, in good condition, to the Co-operators at 19 North Main St.
White said, if they get too many donations, they’ll store the items for next year’s trip to Jamaica.