Brian Huntley, of Burlington Fur Farm in Hants County, spearheaded the Mink Farmers for Warmth campaign through the Nova Scotia Mink Breeders Association.
“Part of the reason for it is people look to the fur industry as a fashion statement,” said Huntley. “But fur is a warmth thing as well. That's kind of the idea behind the campaign. There are places that require the fur for warmth. As you get into China and Russia... they really rely on the warm, real, natural garments. That's why they buy them, not for the fashion end of it.”
Huntley says the mink breeders are looking for people to drop off gently used winter clothing so that they can redistribute them to local school children in need.
“Kids need to stay warm as well. We can't really donate fur coats to them but we can do what we can to help them out,” he said, noting they will welcome donations of coats, snowsuits, mittens, hats and scarves.
He said while the focus for the fundraiser is on children's clothing, they will accept adult winter items and will pass them on to organizations that can handle the distribution.
Huntley hopes this will be the first of many successful Mink Farmers for Warmth campaigns.
“This is year one,” said Huntley. “Hopefully next year I'll be able to have the campaign running throughout the year so as kids are growing out of these coats through the winter and parents are buying new ones to fit them... parents don't have to hang onto it for a year. They can drop it right off and we can store them and distribute them the next fall.”
Randall Amero, the vice-president of the Nova Scotia Mink Breeders Association, is based in Weymouth. He said the association is pleased to be taking part in the initiative.
“I think it's a good way to provide something back to the local community,” said Amero.
“Most of the people involved in the Nova Scotia mink industry have been here for generations. We live in the community; we work in the community. Instead of donating something to go outside of the community, it's nice to give back to the community that we live in,” he added.
People looking to donate goods can do so at most mink farms in the province and at the Nova Scotia Mink Breeders Association's main office in Weymouth. For those living in or near Hants County, Schoolhouse Brewery, in Windsor, the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery, in Summerville, and the Burlington Fur Farm, in West Hants, are all acting as drop-off sites for the fundraiser.