Skip to content
Patient Care

Donor-funded depot helps clothe thousands of patients

by Mary Frances Hill


He was a person none of the social workers will soon forget.

The team at the John Ruedy Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital recall the day they met a person who had been treated at the hospital. An altercation had left him in great pain, with shards of glass embedded in his feet and face. 

Once the man was treated for his injuries, the team — including social worker Vicki Bright — gave him a new pair of warm socks and shoes that fit comfortably over his bandaged feet.  

“He was in a bad way,” recalls Vicki, who works at the clinic, which provides primary care for those living with HIV/AIDS. “It was really useful to be able to get these items for him, clean and ready once his feet had been dressed.”

Thankfully, staff from 30 departments from across the hospital can access Providence Health Care’s (PHC) Clothing Depot, a volunteer-run, donor-supported resource of season-appropriate clothing and footwear. The Clothing Depot at St. Paul’s Hospital fulfills PHC’s mission to provide care to discharging patients that extends compassion and preserves a patient’s dignity.

These patients may be unhoused, or otherwise trying to cope with few resources; often, isolated seniors arrive at the hospital only in sleepwear and they need some basic clothing to return home in comfort. 

The Clothing Depot is one of many programs that benefit from St. Paul’s Foundation’s 50/50 raffles. The Foundation hosts multiple 50/50 raffles over the course of the year: one in February, one in May, and one in August.

Those who buy tickets get an opportunity to take home a cash prize while also contributing to programs that directly improve the quality of life for patients and residents in long-term care across BC. 

The last raffle winner – announced March 1 – won $42,955. The next raffle will start in May, keep an eye on this link if you want not only a chance at half the jackpot, but also want to support a fantastic cause. 

Donors rise to the challenge

The 50/50 raffle puts a positive spin on a serious problem: the need for clothing and footwear for patients with complex medical and social needs has been building year after year. Last year saw a 47% increase in the clothing items provided by the depot compared to 2021. PHC estimates that more than 3,000 patients will be served with clothing items as varied as pants, sweatshirts, winter jackets, and all-weather runners over the course of this year. 

Hazel Gray, manager of Mission Integration and Volunteer Resources at PHC, says the Clothing Depot allows St. Paul’s to make a simple gesture to patients with complex social and medical needs. Donors understand how valuable it is for clinical teams who rely on it to show respect and compassion to patients. 

“The Clothing Depot relies entirely on donor support and helps ensure patients leave our hospital with dignity, in adequate clothing, and with the best possible chance of continuing on their health care journey,” Hazel says. “Thank you to all donors who help fund the Clothing Depot that our clinical teams rely on, and which has been used by more than 30 departments throughout St. Paul’s already this year.”