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Cobourg police armed with sleeping bags to help those in need

New initiative aimed at keeping people warm during cold nights
COBOURG — During frigid cold nights on patrol, Cobourg Constable Randall Curr comes across people who have nowhere they can go to keep warm.

Const. Curr would not say Cobourg has a homeless problem, but did say he and other officers deal with people “who need accommodation,” whether it be for one night or more.

“We try and do what we can do,” Const. Curr said of finding someone out in the cold. “But sometimes we lack the resources we need. More times than not, we try and utilize Salvation Army coupons to put someone up in a local hotel for a night or two.”

However, there is relief now for those who find themselves in such a cold situation.

On a day where the mercury plunged south of -20 C, the Cobourg Police Service announced help for those in need during frigid weather conditions — dubbed Project Winter Survival.

“Project Winter Survival provides our officers with additional means to help and show compassion to the less fortunate and homeless individuals they encounter during their tour of duty,” said Cobourg police chief Kai Liu, during the Jan. 22 announcement at the Northumberland United Way on William Street.

Each police cruiser will now carry winter survival kits — containing sleeping bags, clothing, food and personal care items — which can be given to those in need by patrol officers.

To bring the project to light, the Cobourg Police Service partnered with the Northumberland United Way and the Bargains Group, which began Project Winter Survival. For the past 14 years, Project Winter Survival has assembled and distributed more than 15,000 kits to homeless people throughout the Toronto area and beyond.

“Unfortunately there is a need for such kits,” Cobourg Mayor Gil Brocanier said. “There is poverty in the county and in Cobourg. The kits are a great idea and using officers who have first contact with those in need is a great way to help those people.”

Cobourg police chaplain Andrew Truter called the project “an ideal opportunity” for the Cobourg Police Service to do more than just enforce the law.

“Our officers are out there to protect and serve, not just to write up speeding tickets and this is a chance for Cobourg police to show how much they care about the citizens they protect,” he said.

For more information on Project Winter Survival, visit www.bargainsgroup.com.

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