Vancouver, BC – For the 20th year, REALTORS® across the Lower Mainland gathered warm clothing and blankets to help over 17,000 working poor and homeless people in our region and what stood out most during this year’s Blanket Drive – November 17 to 24 – was the quality and specificity of donations.
Sue Mukerji, Surrey REALTOR® and Blanket Drive volunteer for over ten years, observes, “The message that it’s not about quantity is really getting through now. Our goal has always been to collect the highest quality items to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens in each of our communities.
“Some of our charities request only blankets; others indicate they need mainly socks or underwear. Surrey’s Hyland House specifically asked for new pillows. Because we have REALTORS®, clients and members of the public who have been supporting us for many years, we have a network to help fulfill the unique requests as best we can.”
One group that regularly receives donations from the Blanket Drive is the Hope Central Ministry at New Heights Church in Mission. They provide food and other services to both low income families and to individuals living outdoors. Carrie Prentice is the ministry coordinator and the church’s only staff person. “For many of our clients, their only source of warmth is a blanket and winter clothing provided by the Blanket Drive.
“We were very touched when two REALTORS® returned after dropping off donations to bring us literally bags of socks. Something as simple as a clean, new pair of socks can really make a big difference to someone’s quality of life.”
Another beneficiary of the REALTOR® initiative is the Harvest Project in North Vancouver. They connect with over 300 families and individuals challenged by family breakdown, illness, job loss and poverty.
Development officer Kevin J. Lee, said, “Thank you REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive! The donated items allow us to provide coats and clothing to women and men returning to the work force or school and help those simply in need of proper clothing for the winter season."
Established in 1994, the Blanket Drive is the largest, most recognized warm clothing and blanket collection in the Lower Mainland and has assisted more than 250,000 people. Donations from REALTORS®, their clients, the general public, corporations, retailers, community groups and schools are dropped off at over 100 real estate offices from Whistler to Hope.
The REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive is a partnership between the REALTORS® of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board and their communities.