Dec 2, 2017.
It was a cold, damp day, but that did nothing to dampen the warmth of our community! We hosted our 2017 Gift of Warmth BBQ and were absolutely overwhelmed with the generosity! Thank you all for your donations for homeless folks needing warm winter gear.
Throughout the day we had people arriving with donations, asking nothing in return. People donated everything from food to blankets, new boots, and packages made up of new underwear & socks. Some left their names, more did not. They were just happy to know that their donated items were making their way into the hands of folks who could use them.
That’s the spirit of our Gift of Warmth campaign where we collect donations for homeless people who need warm gear to help them face the brunt of winter.
The campaign is the brainchild of Jason Smith of our Vancouver Regional Recycling Depot. As a new manager 3 year ago, he saw the need of the community and decided to do something to help. He suggested to Regional Recycling owner Rod Lotzkar that he would like the depot to collect items for the binner population, and Rod quickly agreed. What started as a small seed of an idea has grown into a successful annual event.
Our 2017 Gift of Warmth was the best yet thanks to partners SPUD Vancouver and Pacific Metals.
Our campaign was the Vancouver recipient of SPUD’s annual winter bin drive. We are grateful for the generosity of SPUD customers that resulted in over 2 dozen huge boxes of items for our binner client to shop. In addition, SPUD donated delicious apple cider for the BBQ held on Dec 2nd. Pacific Metals donated money for the food for the BBQ.
Clothing and warm item donations also came in from our community at large. The Vancouver Thunderbirds hockey team stopped by with warm winter blankets. Chef Pola sent natural organic snacks! We had volunteers from our community who staffed the “shop” helping our binner clients find items that would help them through the coming cold months.
We had items of all types and sizes. Most popular were the sturdy boots with rain gear a close second. The huge selection of warm coats and jackets was well shopped, and items for layering were also really popular. The shoppers all left with a good supply of warm gear to help them face the coming months. All were hugely grateful to the community for their generosity!
We were also joined by Michael Leland of the Binner’s Project who was hot off their success of securing a grant to support their universal carts pilot project.
With Christmas Carols playing in the background a good time was had by all. Plenty of smiling, laughing and dancing!
Websters defines community: “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” I think all who joined us, donators, volunteers and binner customers felt that sense of community. I know I did.
Thank you to everyone who made that possible!
Previous Years Donations for Homeless
We started quietly that first year. With just a few weeks notice we hurriedly gathered donated items from family and friends. We reached out to our neighbors and on social media and saw donations come in. We decided to host a BBQ and invited our binner clients to join us for a hot meal of all-beef hot dogs and hot coffee. The community was hugely grateful, and in the end we called it a huge success.
In 2016 we got a better start. Our social media campaign rounded up a huge number of donations! Mission Possible joined us for the day, providing personal care packages to the binner clients. The following partners helped with donations and supplies:
- Fashion FX Exchange with their large donation of new clothing,
- Dakota Group supplied much-needed clothing racks,
- Ride On Bike Shops donated 2 refurbished mountain bikes given away the day of the event, and
- The Union and the Cascade Room promoted the Gift of Warmth through their restaurants and Facebook page.
And, we were joined on the day by ZTV! (Thank you so much!)
Once again the day was a huge success! We saw double the number of binners shopping the donated items. And, while it was a bitterly cold day, we had plenty of fun huddling around the BBQ to keep warm! You can read more about the 2016 Gift of Warmth on our blog.