More than 100 of CFA’s decommissioned woollen jackets have been sent overseas to help warm some of the poorest people in the Balkans region.
The jackets were collected from brigades throughout District 22, with the total of 115 black coats handed over to Shepparton community group, People Supporting People.
D22 Brigade Administrative Support Officer Grant Flynn said it was important to see the jackets going to a good cause.
“CFA has upgraded it’s cold climate jacket to modern fluoro yellow coats, so we were trying to find a home for the old woollen coats,” said Grant.
“We decided to donate them to People Supporting People as they’re a community group that provides free meals and other support for people in the local area who are experiencing tough times.
“We’ve already got a great relationship with them because they also provide operational catering to our firefighters on the firegrounds across the districts.
People Supporting People founder Azem Elmaz said the jackets were sent to Macedonia where he is originally from, as it is country that gets incredibly cold in winter with a lot of snow.
“I was back there two years ago and there were so many poor people so I thought if we send the jackets there, it will really help people who will be able to use them for years and years.
“I still have family there so when they arrive my brother will distribute them to whoever needs the jackets, whether that’s at the refugee camps, or to the local people from Macedonia who are really struggling.”
Grant said this was the last lot of jackets to be donated from District 22, with more jackets having been provided to other organisations in previous years.
“Azem asked if these coats could be sent to some of the refugee camps and the poor in the Balkans, and we said we’ll be glad to see them being used for a very good purpose.
“The old coats were very good coats but weren’t quite up to the modern standards, and this makes sure they’re not going to waste.