Deborah Little used to live in a small tent city behind Walmart in Courtenay.

“Well I had lost a loved one to suicide and that’s pretty much when I quit life altogether,” said Little. “I just didn’t want to live anymore and I really got deep into my addiction. That’s when I picked up fentanyl.”

She had once owned her own home but after that personal tragedy, she ended up living on the streets for a year and a half.

“It was pretty terrifying. Yeah, I never thought I’d be a person that was living on the street,” she said.

Then eight months ago, outside a Courtenay 7-11, her life changed for the better.

“I was freezing and a woman approached me. I was sitting outside the 7-11 here and she just took the coat off her back and gave me her coat and what she did is really one of the deciding factors that made me try again.” added Little.

She has been in recovery and clean almost since that day and is now paying it forward in a big way. She has started the Coats for Care Foundation, hoping to get a coat to anyone in the Comox Valley and maybe beyond who needs it for any reason.

“We’re asking for gently used coats to new coats and it’s for anyone in need from infancy to senior citizens, homelessness, anyone who financially can’t afford to go buy a coat,” said Little.

Her friend Tammy Gough is also a recovering addict and one of the forces behind Coats for Care.

“It’s doing those random acts of kindness and making a difference in somebody’s life that could be what they need to fight for their life,” said Gough.

For more information on a coat drive in Courtenay, this weekend click here.

Dean Stoltz