NORTH BAY -- For 19-year-olds Kobe Seguin and Adam Kennedy, giving back to the community was top of mind when they started their new clothing line, Bay Apparel.

“We wanted be different from other clothing brands,” said Seguin. “We didn’t just want to slap a logo on clothing and move forward with it. So our goal was to be aware of social and environmental issues and we wanted to kind of contribute and give back to the community that supported us.”

Since launching in 2020, the two entrepreneurs have made three major donations paired with every clothing drop they’ve created.

“From our first two drops, we donated to the Noah Strong Foundation,” said Seguin.

The most recent donation went to the Nipissing Mental Health Housing & Support Services in North Bay for both its outreach program and low-barrier shelter.

“This year especially more than others, there’s a lot of people that aren’t as lucky as we are and they don’t get the new clothes that we do,” said Kennedy, the second half of Bay Apparel. “We wanted to give back a little bit to the less fortunate and get them some newer clothes and keep them warm throughout the winter.”

Donated 90 sweaters

The pair donated 90 new sweaters of all sizes and colours. Something that officials at the support services group said was just wonderful.

“This donation is really special because they’re new items,” said Bryan Eade, an outreach worker with the healthy community ambassador program. “A lot of the folks that we meet that are struggling with homelessness, they don’t often get things that are new. It’s often used items, hand-me-downs, that kind of stuff.”

Officials said the donation was especially useful this year as the city continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID has been a huge hurdle for a lot of individuals as they can’t access the Rebuilt Resources or Value Village, any of the thrift shops,” Eade said. “The clothing is really hard for them to afford right now. So any community donations such as these things, have just been a part of the pieces that help keep everybody healthier in the community.”

So far, between the outreach program and the low-barrier shelter in the city, about half of the sweaters have been handed out and Eade said the response has been positive.

'Everybody loves them'

“Smiles, lots of smiles,” he said. “It’s funny, everybody loves them so much that even the staff are having a hard time figuring out who is who in the shelters because everyone is wearing the same things proudly. It’s been awesome.”

As for Seguin and Kennedy, they were just happy to help.

“It felt nice,” said Seguin. “We obviously didn’t do it for the recognition, we wanted to give back, but it definitely felt good knowing that it went to people in need. We heard how happy people were wearing them, getting new clothing for the first time in a very long time, so that definitely felt great for both Adam and I.”

As for what’s next, the partners said they are working on their fourth clothing drop and plan to make a donation with that one, too. However, where it will go hasn’t been decided yet.

“Hopefully eventually we can maybe branch out to more than just North Bay and bigger causes and everything and have bigger donations,” said Kennedy.

“We’re just going to keep pushing. We’re going to keep bringing in some clothes and as much as we can we’re going to find new places to donate.”