VANCOUVER, BC – With predictions for this winter to be the coldest and wettest in 50 years, and the number of homeless people on the rise in the Lower Mainland, the need for the annual REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive could be at its highest in its 16-year history.
The REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive runs November 29 to December 6 at over 100 real estate offices across the region, collecting blankets, bedding and warm and waterproof clothing for the homeless and working poor. Over 30 charities from Whistler to Chilliwack receive, on average, more than 4,000 bags of gently-used or new items donated by REALTORS®, their clients and the public.
Earlier this year, the City of Vancouver announced that the homeless count in Vancouver has increased 12 per cent since 2008. Also, meteorologists are calling for a La Niña weather cycle this winter, meaning colder-than-normal temperatures and heavier precipitation.
“Add to that, the economy is still in recovery,” said Jake Moldowan, president, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. “So for all of those reasons, there’s a huge need for warm clothing and blankets for vulnerable people in our communities. Charities will need even more donations if they’re to adequately respond to the perfect storm of a recovering economy, an anticipated tough winter and increased homelessness.”
Deanna Horn, president, Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, encourages the public to donate the best quality of items that they can – both gently-used and new. “Our charities give us wish-lists,” she said. “People coming in from the streets are looking for warm winter coats, sleeping bags, hoodies, toques and gloves. Community service clients are looking for blankets, bed sheets and everyday clothing for themselves and their children that they otherwise just can’t afford.”
The president of the Chilliwack & District Real Estate Board, Kyle Hislop, is confident no matter what weather conditions REALTOR® volunteers may face during their 10 days of collecting donations, they will deliver. “During our first year in 2006, we received over a foot of snow the week before the Blanket Drive and then three days into it, we were hit with another massive snowstorm. Regardless, our volunteers were determined to collect donations for our community. There’s a tremendous amount of passion behind the REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive because of the difference it makes.”
Donations to the REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive stay within the communities in which they are donated, or if the volumes are too large, go to charities in greatest need in neighbouring communities. Again, the 2010 REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive will run from November 29 to December 6. To find a list of all drop-off locations and charitable recipients, go to www.blanketdrive.ca.