An estimated 250 people, plus children, attended the Fall Children’s Clothing and Toy Exchange. The event is held in conjunction with the Revelstoke Child Care Society and the Revelstoke Early Years Centre. It is an entirely free event. There is no cost to enter, and no money is exchanged for items or clothing.
“People were happy,” says Linda Chell, Executive Director of the Revelstoke Child Care Society. “We heard the term ‘epic hauls’ which is great.”
The exchange came into being eleven years ago after a woman from Revelstoke attended an event in Kamloops where parents brought in items and clothing they no longer needed, and traded them. She asked Chell if something similar could be tried here. What started as an experiment has now evolved into a semi annual, incredibly popular, event – now celebrating its tenth year.
“The numbers climb every year,” says Chell. “We do our best to time the event so it works best for families. They can get their winter stuff before winter hits. The spring exchange is booked for April 13, 2019, which allows families to get spring and summer clothing in the shoulder season.”
Every demographic in town is represented at the event.
“It makes such a difference in the cost of raising children when people don’t have to buy every item of equipment and clothing,” says Chell. The exchange has a wide range of items including clothing, toys, bike helmets, bottle warmers, diapers, bassinets, and strollers.
“People from all walks of life come to the exchange. It saves costs, is better for the environment, and offers a really nice social experience,” Chell explains.
Chell says there are between fourteen and eighteen tupperware bins full of clothing. Items are cleaned, sorted and folded. It is common to receive donations in the off season; summer clothing will be donated now, so it is stored for next summer and, on occasionally distributed to the thrift store. Extra newborn onesies and receiving blankets are given to midwife Birte Paschen to take to Guatemala for the Safe Motherhood Project. This project is aimed at improving maternal care in Guatemala.
As for the exchange’s evolution, people can now find clothing ranging from newborn to young teen, to maternity wear. Several other groups attend, offering information about childcare subsidies, Registered Education Saving Plans and children’s health.
“It has really surpassed our goals and expectations,” says Chell. “We have a group of incredible volunteers and the exchange grows and improves every year.”