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HELPERS: Bradford woman keeps busy helping community

78-year-old Cecilia Podger volunteers at The Clothes Line, providing used clothing, household goods and electronics to the less fortunate

A Bradford woman keeps busy by dedicating all her time to helping others in the community at The Clothes Line.

Cecilia Podger moved to Bradford from Toronto with her daughter 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since. A widow, mother of five, and grandmother of eight, Podger, 78, has had a busy life so far.

“I’m busy every day. If I sat at home watching TV all day, I would be sick. So, I believe this is what’s kept me going and kept me healthy," she said. 

She wakes up each morning and checks her calendar to keep track of her daily destinations, one being The Clothes Line at 95 Holland St.

The Clothes Line operates under CONTACT Community Services and provides gently used clothing, small household goods, electronics, toys, and books to the less fortunate. People can donate items, and if they’re in good shape, they will be resold to someone in need for a fraction of the price. Podger mentions that there was a high volume of people coming in recently for their children to acquire outfits for the new school year. 

Podger had three careers before retiring" a school secretary for 18 years in Toronto, an executive assistant for the Advocate Society for 11, and an employee of a financial planner’s office for six. She remained in the workforce until she was 74 but has since focused on helping the needy through volunteer work.

“I think that if you can, you have to volunteer, even if it’s a minor little thing,” Podger said. 

But her volunteering doesn’t stop at The Clothes Line; on Mondays, she helps with her church, primarily in the administration office. She is also actively involved with the Helping Hand Food Bank every other Friday, as well as Out of the Cold Café, where she helps cook the meals to be distributed to those in need. Podger even offers to fill in shifts if they’re available.

So why does she do it?

“I can see that I’m making a difference. People always say they need help somewhere—I’ll help!” she said. 

 Another big reason Podger enjoys volunteering is because of the people in the community.

“It didn’t take long for me to love this town,” she added. 

Podger has nothing but nice things to say about CONTACT Community Services, The Clothes Line organization, and staff, but she believes they need a bigger space. Each wall is decorated with clothing and items, almost floor to ceiling, and the back area space where they organize the donations are limited. However, that doesn’t stop them from taking in more donations.

On Sept. 24, The Clothes Line will be holding a winter coat drive to prepare for the upcoming season.

To donate items to The Clothes Line, call ahead to book an appointment online, and Cecilia Podger will likely be there.