Realtors raise truckloads of blankets and clothing for homeless

Clients of Surrey's Nightshift Street Ministries are some of the beneficiaries.

Realtors Jenny Yeung and Helmut Machholz sit on a pile of blankets and clothing raised for Surrey's NightShift Street Ministries.

Almost 19,000 working poor and homeless people across the Lower Mainland received donations of blankets, clothing, and other necessities this year from the region’s longest running Blanket Drive.

Over the years, the Drive has grown to become the largest collection of its kind in our region.

Since 1994, the real estate community has partnered with local charities to distribute items collected in the region, in that time helping more than 185,000 people.

During this year’s REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive, Nov. 28 – Dec. 5, people from across the Lower Mainland benefited from the many contributions distributed through local charities.

“Many people in our community who are struggling financially will be blessed and warm this winter because of the Blanket Drive,” said Lorraine Pilling, clothing co-op manager at Higher Ground Ministry, a charitable organization in Port Coquitlam.

The largest recipient charity in Surrey, NightShift Street Ministries, is an organization that offers outreach services to the homeless including food, clothing and counselling.

“We anticipate the hundreds of bags of coats and blankets we received this year will provide a change of clothes and a fresh blanket to every client who needs it until April 2012,” said MaryAnne Connor, founder/president of Nightshift Street Ministries.“This donation program is an integral part of our mission to assist those in need.”

Across the Lower Mainland, people generously support the Blanket Drive. Individual people, corporations, retailers, community groups and schools all partner with local REALTORS® to collect quality items.

Donations collected by Chilliwack and district volunteers were distributed to Ruth and Naomi’s Mission, Chilliwack; the Joshua Project, Hope; and Agassiz-Harrison Community Services, Agassiz.

This year, for the first time, a video blog was created to tell the stories behind the Blanket Drive. Learn how it started, how volunteers collect and sort donations, and how charities distribute the items by visiting the following websites: www.blanketdrive.ca, www.facebook.com/blanketdrive and www.twitter.com/REBGV.

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