Posted by Vancouver Sun on November 15, 2019
With colder weather creeping in, people are starting to pull out their sweaters, winter coats, slippers, and comforters. Not everyone has access to such everyday luxuries, however. That’s why the annual REALTORS Care Blanket Drive is so vital.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the REALTORS Care Blanket Drive collects an enormous amount of warm winter items that supports dozens of local charities, helping about 35,000 people around the Lower Mainland each year.
“The need is real,” says Realtor Ashley Smith, REBGV president. “I’ve lived in Gastown and Chinatown and have seen first-hand some of the impacts of cold weather. It makes you realize how quickly a season can change and how vulnerable some members of our communities are.
“A warm blanket is often the first line of defence, especially for the more than 3,500 homeless people in our region,” she says. “For 25 years now, thousands of Realtors have volunteered to gather and distribute blankets and warm clothing to more than 385,000 people in need, including women and children facing domestic violence and those in supportive housing.”
The annual drive began in 1994 when a group of Realtors observed the homeless situation in Vancouver’s core and simply thought, “We’ve got to do something to help.” They put out a call to colleagues, and the response was enormous and swift: they collected enough blankets and coats to help 3,000 people that year alone.
Thousands of Realtors from Whistler to Hope have participated since, with more than 100 real estate offices that act as collection depots in the Lower Mainland each year.
Anyone can make a donation. The greatest needs are gently used or new blankets or sleeping bags; hats, gloves and scarves; new socks and underwear; and other warm clothes.
“Vancouver is an incredible city to live in, but it comes with its challenges, and one of those challenges is the expensive cost of living,” says Realtor Colette Gerber, REGBV president-elect. “The Blanket Drive is a way of helping those who need it the most. As Realtors, it’s incumbent upon us to look after those who are less fortunate. It’s a way of giving hope.”
Donations are kept in the community from which they’re collected and distributed by local charities.
The 25th annual REALTORS Care Blanket Drive runs from Nov. 18 to 25. To find a drop-off location near you and learn more, visit blanketdrive.ca or contact your local Realtor.
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.