The main goal of our Kingston Rotaract Club this year is to give support to all refugees in our community. Beginning on July 12th,, we began a close collaboration with KEYS, a registered charity that is doing an amazing job in engaging and supporting newcomers in Kingston.
Some of the refugee families, especially the ones coming from Ukraine, arrived here during the summer/fall with as little as a backpack due to the hurry at which they had to leave their home country. Being an international student myself and having moved from a much warmer country to Canada, I learned on my skin how tough Canadian winter can be if someone is not well prepared. For this reason, our Club had to help solve this problem!
KEYS usually runs a clothing drive to provide refugees with warm clothes donated from the community. This year however they wanted to do it BETTER and BIGGER!! After securing the beautiful and very spacious location from the city at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, they put together a huge community effort to collect donations of warm clothes and winter gear.  The Kingston Rotaract club rallied the community behind this important cause. Our club reached out to fellow Rotarians in the community and the generosity was unbelievable. Over 50 donors gave clothing, including a large donation from the Ukrainian community, several large donations from Rotary/Rotaract clubs across Kingston, and a large donation from the Kingston Kiwanis Club. This shows once again that collaboration leads to greater benefits!
On November 2nd and 3rd the actual Clothing Drive took place. More than 14 volunteers form KEYS, Rotary, and Rotaract participated in the event. Overall, over 155 individuals benefited or will benefit from the Clothing Drive, and I am very happy to think that we made Canadian Winter much more enjoyable for a lot of people. Once again, this could not have been possible without the amazing organisation at KEYS, and without the breathtaking generosity of our community.
Francesco Ambrogi
President – Kingston Rotaract Club