El Santo restaurant is collecting coats for the homeless this week

A popular New Westminster eatery is collecting coats for homeless people this week and has already received about 100 coats, but the owner wants more.

Alejandro Diaz, owner of el Santo in downtown New West, is accepting donations of new or gently used men’s and women’s coats and new socks. The idea came to him after he found out his four-year-old son had been taking the family’s food to the food bank, Diaz said.

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“I was looking for some of my favourite food and I was like ‘Where is it?’ and he was just taking everything,” he laughed.

Diaz wanted to do something to help people too. He was going through his stuff and found an old coat he didn’t wear anymore. He thought about consigning it but decided to donate it instead.

“It’s more special because it’s going to go to someone that needs that coat, and then it’s not just getting rid of something you don’t use,” he said.

“I know quite a few of the homeless people in the neighbourhood and I think it would be nice to give them some coats.”

From now until Saturday, Dec. 22, folks can drop off coats or new socks at el Santo and then Diaz will take the coats to the Lookout Society, which will then distribute the coats to homeless people in New Westminster and on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

“We wanted to do downtown because, you know, there are not just people from downtown there, there are people from New West, there are people from different areas, so we want to just help as much as possible,” he said.

Diaz estimates they’ve already received at least 100 coats.

“I wasn’t expecting such an overwhelming response,” he told the Record.

Coats and socks can be dropped off at el Santo anytime between 11:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. The restaurant is located at 680 Columbia St. For more information go to tinyurl.com/ElSantoCoats.

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